During its visit to Auckland, the FIFA delegation led by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura participated in several meetings with government officials and sports stakeholders. These latest exchanges follow a tour during which FIFA representatives visited each of the five Australian cities and four New Zealand cities that will host the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ matches. A first dialogue with Auckland Unlimited, the government body responsible for promoting the cultural and economic development of the city of Auckland, and Auckland Council got the residents and their representatives excited, a few months before the start of the competition. The conversation also focused on the city’s future prospects and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The place of football in promoting the health and well-being of young people, especially girls, was on the list of discussions. Fatma Samoura and her colleagues then met with New Zealand office staff for the 2023 Women’s World Cup to discuss progress in preparations for the ninth edition of the global event. Dans la foulée, le groupe a visité le bureau du Développement Régional de la FIFA à Auckland, afin de saluer l’équipe sur place et de discuter de la mise en œuvre du plan d’aide de la FIFA contre le Covid-19 dans la District.
Next, the FIFA Secretary General spoke with Helen Clark, Global Director of Sustainable Development and Patron of Gender Equality at the Helen Clark Foundation. The two leaders were able to talk about the development of football and its role in the liberation of women and girls. However, the highlight of the day will remain the announcement of the date of the final draw for the Women’s World Cup 2023, which is scheduled for October 22, 2022. The news was revealed during a ceremony attended by Fatima Samoura, Minister of Sports and Deputy Cabinet. New Zealand Minister Grant Robertson and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. The announcement came after a meeting with partner FIFA Xero, a small business management platform. During discussions with New Zealand CEO Craig Hudson and Director Customer and Communications Jana Wilkinson, two topics were widely discussed: the role of business in women’s football and women’s empowerment in small businesses around the world.
Further meetings have been held with Football New Zealand to determine how the Member Association can best assist FIFA during the competition. This marathon ended with a visit to the new soccer house (Te Kahu o Kiwa) of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). OFC Secretary General Frank Castillo led a tour of the 850 square meter building alongside Joanna Wood, Head of Football New Zealand, who is also a member of the FIFA Council and the OFC Council. Te Kahu o Kiwa will house the 43 staff of the OFC. It will also act as a point of contact for seconded staff and teams from the 11 member associations and two associate members. His equipment has been called upon to play a vital role in achieving one of OFC’s main goals: sending two teams to the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Women’s World Cup.
The facilities will also be left available to neighboring communities, in order to become a center of excellence for youth football development. The campus will include two artificial turf pitches and dressing rooms adapted to high-level requirements. The FIFA Secretary General spoke one last time before leaving the Southern Hemisphere: “The OFC can be very proud of what they have achieved, in building such fantastic equipment. Thanks to the House of Football here in Auckland, the 11th member of the region and two associate members will benefit from an efficient locomotive. And transparent for the development of football, and we look forward to seeing the first results of these investments, which in the coming years will lead to an increase in the number of representatives in various world cups.”
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