One of the largest women's sporting events ever to be held in New Zealand is to receive $1.5 million government support, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson announced today.
This investment is a contribution to the $11.8 million FIFA U17 Women's World Cup tournament which will be held in New Zealand between 28 October and 16 November.
Helen Clark made the announcement at the FIFA Volunteer Training Day at North Harbour Stadium in Albany today.
The funding is from the Major Events Development Fund administered by the Ministry for Economic Development. The Fund's purpose is to maximise the return to New Zealand as a whole from major events, and to position New Zealand as a highly competitive and desirable destination for hosting other such events.
Helen Clark and Pete Hodgson said the Labour-led Government's support for the event signifies its determination to build New Zealand's reputation as a host for future major sporting events.
"By successfully hosting this FIFA World Cup, New Zealand will be well-positioned to bid for other FIFA events. This experience also helps us build the event management capability we need to manage major events," Helen Clark said.
"Football New Zealand has recruited more than 1000 volunteers to work during this event. They will be fundamental to the successful delivery of this tournament, and their skills will be welcome at other global events - in particular, the Rugby World Cup hosted by New Zealand in 2011.
"Not only will we directly host about 2500 international visitors for the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup, but also the Cup will be watched by an estimated TV audience of more than 125 million. The Government's $1.5 million investment will help create spin-offs through enhanced economic activity and tourism," Pete Hodgson said.
There are 16 teams playing in the tournament, with 32 games in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.
The tournament opens on the 28th October in Auckland with a game between New Zealand and Canada.
The U17 Women's World Cup follows the success of New Zealand hosting the inaugural FIFA U17 World Cup for men in 1999. The final attracted a sell-out crowd and around 200 million viewers worldwide.