Fifa delegation to check out Nelson

A delegation from world football's governing body, Fifa, will visit Nelson tomorrow as part of a nationwide check on nine potential host cities for the men's Under-20 World Cup in 2015.

Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio is confident Nelson remains in a strong position to continue negotiations to host a full pool with New Zealand Football.

However, if the $500,000 bid approved and allocated last year falls short, other options could include sharing a pool and having a reduced number of games, or seeking contributions from local corporates to help cover any potential shortfall.

Mr Miccio said hosting a pool would hinge on whether the Nelson contribution would be enough to help New Zealand Football cover the costs of hosting the tournament, along with a contribution from central government and other hosting councils. "It will purely come down to a numbers game. In all the other criteria, we are fine," he said.

He had not yet canvassed anyone for corporate sponsorship and, if required, the stopgap would need to go to the council for approval.

However, any corporate contributor would have to be an "unnamed donation", because Fifa and New Zealand Football had all the sponsorship tied up.

In terms of a bid shortfall, there had been "nothing definitive" from New Zealand Football, despite feedback that the bid was about $500,000 short, he said. "That [$500,000] figure is purely an estimate. It is not my estimate.

"I don't believe that figure is correct.

"We are in a negotiating phase. We have our bid that the council has put forward, and I am still hopeful we will be able to have a strong bid to be a part of the Under-20 World Cup.

"Our initial goal is to get an entire pool played in Nelson, but whether or not that is possible will be found out in the coming weeks."

Mr Miccio said the presentation to the Fifa officials would be similar to that made for the Rugby World Cup.

They will be looking at the city's facilities, including Trafalgar Park, the Saxton Field complex, training grounds, transport, accommodation and other amenities.

A decision on the host venues is expected in the next couple of months, although New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum said last year after New Zealand was awarded the tournament that six or possibly eight cities would host games.

The Fifa delegation is visiting Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium today and Nelson's Trafalgar Park tomorrow.

The North Island inspection tour begins on Thursday in Wellington and moves on to Napier's McLean Park, North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth and Waikato Stadium, before ending at Toll Stadium in Whangarei on January 30.

The Nelson Mail