Fifa impressed by Hamilton venue

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2014
Seamus Marten, FIFA
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

LOOKING GOOD: Local Organising Committee venue general manager Seamus Marten during Fifa’s inspection of Waikato Stadium for the 2015 Under-20 World Cup.

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Waikato Stadium appears set to get a big tick from Fifa for next year's world under-20 football tournament.

The stadium is one of seven New Zealand venues for next year's tournament, which runs from the end of May to June 20.

A delegation of the game's world governing body were in Hamilton yesterday to inspect the facilities for the seven scheduled group matches, a round of 16 matches and a quarterfinal.

Fifa senior competitions manager Rhiannon Martin said the team was looking to ensure Waikato Stadium was capable of hosting double-header matches.

"So we're looking at enough facilities available here for four teams to be here at one time," Martin said.

"That goes for the dressing rooms, additional training sites and obviously we need a good standard hotel with enough facilities as well.

"We've been very impressed with what we've seen so far today. The stadium is a fantastic facility - it really is - and the quality of the pitch is very very good."

Past world U-20 tournaments have seen the likes of future superstars Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Cesc Fabregas and Luis Figo display their wares.

Fifa U-20 New Zealand 2015 chief executive Dave Beeche said he expected the country's sports fans to embrace the event.

"From the football community, where we've been focusing our conversations to date, there's a huge excitement about this tournament."

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- Waikato Times

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