Monday, June 24, 2024

Football fever strikes Wellington

Football fever is hitting Wellington today as the city marks one year until the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ kicks off.

The Parliament forecourt has become a football pitch as Capital Football sets a series of challenges for Wellington Mayor Andy Foster, Wellington Phoenix Academy Under 16s, and football, rugby, cricket, and netball players from Wellington provincial teams.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™is the largest women’s sporting event in the world. It will feature 32 teams playing 64 matches in four cities in Aotearoa New Zealand – including nine matches in Wellington – and five cities in Australia.

Three Wellington buildings – the Michael Fowler Centre, Parliament and the Wellington Railway Station building – have also been lit up in FIFA colours and artwork.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster, himself a passionate football player and supporter, says he is fizzing with excitement as the city marks one year till the FIFA Women’s World Cup comes to the capital.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup will be the largest sporting event ever hosted in Wellington, where it will bridge cultures and connect people from around the world as they get out to support their team,” the Mayor said.

Football Fern, Rebekah Stott poses during a media opportunity following the successful bid for Australia & New Zealand to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, in Sydney last month.

“Wellington’s streets will come alive with the sort of colour, noise and fun that only a big football tournament can create. I know local businesses – especially those in the hospitality, retail and accommodation sectors – can’t wait for the event to arrive.

“It’s good for women’s sport, good for football and good for Wellington. It’s going to be something special.”

Todd Barberel, GM Marketing & Communications at WellingtonNZ, said the enormity and scale of the FIFA Women’s World Cup will be like nothing Aotearoa has seen before.

“Wellington is proud to host the teams and fans, and we can’t wait to show them the best of Wellington passion and manaakitanga,” he said.

“Hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Wellington is an opportunity to shine a light on all women’s sports and the next generation of talent.

“We’re so delighted that sports players across codes are joining us to celebrate the one year to go milestone.”

Helen Mallon, Chair of Capital Football Board, says hosting the world’s best female football players in the capital is a win for all women’s sports.

“It’ll be a huge inspiration for our emerging sporting talent,” she says.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Wellingtonians to see the world’s best football, right on our doorstep.”

Wellington Regional Stadium Chief Executive, Shane Harmon said planning for the tournament is well advanced.

“Our team are in regular dialogue with FIFA. The standards for the event are very high and will ensure a great experience for players and fans alike,” he said.

Wellington’s nine matches include seven group matches, a round of 16 fixture and a quarter-final clash.

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