Stadium gearing up for World Cup fever
Football fans will not have to wait long to find out what it will cost to attend Fifa's 2015 Under-20 World Cup football games.
Ticket prices and sales outlets for Fifa's second largest global football tournament will be released late this week and, according to officials, the cost won't be out of reach of fans.
"Admission prices are going to be ‘very reasonable'," Fifa local organising committee chief executive Dave Beeche said.
"We don't want prices to be a barrier to this tournament."
Beeche was in New Plymouth on Saturday along with a delegation of Fifa officials to fine tune preparations for the tournament.
New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium is one of seven New Zealand venues for next year's tournament and will host six games, including a final 16 match and two doubleheaders.
The Fifa delegation inspected the stadium and training sites around the province for the landmark event.
They agreed the venue was on target to showcase their tournament, which will be run between May 30 to June 20 next year.
"There's one or two small points that we need to clarify, but already the stadium is almost ready to host the 2015 under-20 World," Fifa senior competitions manager Rhiannon Martin, of Zurich, said.
"We had some detailed discussions as well with the ground keepers and we will be sending out a team of experts to discuss with them how to keep the stadium pitch at a good level, not only here, but also at the training sites," she said.
The marketing buildup for the tournament which will bring together the budding rock stars of the round ball game will kick off locally this May with the World Cup trophy being put on public display in New Plymouth, Inglewood and Hawera.
Beeche is hoping the tournament will be a big crowd puller at all host venues.
"We've been open about our ambition to fill every stadium that we're using in the country," he said. "That's a big ambition for football, but we think that the level of this tournament is something we've not seen here before and it's the biggest football tournament we've ever seen."
Beech said children were the core target market about getting the whole community involved.
"We know that Taranaki can come out in force for major events and we certainly hope they will for this," he said. Martin agreed there could be some cynics who might refer to the under-20 World Cup as just a junior tournament.
"We don't like to call it that because the players really are the stars of the future," she said. "We've got a lot of professionals, top class players that will be playing in the Fifa under 20 World Cup."
Martin said the tournament was a "must attend" to talent scouts from all over the world.
"‘In Turkey at the last under-20 World Cup there were scouts from South America, all over Europe and Asia as well," Martin said.
"We had thousands of scouts that came and looked at the players and there were some very lucrative contracts signed by players afterwards."
Officials are expecting a global television audience of around 170 million.
Taranaki Daily News