FIFA was impressed by Forsyth Barr Stadium yesterday and
tournament organisers want Dunedin to reconsider a hosting bid
for 2015 Fifa Under-20 World Cup matches.
Fifa senior competitions event manager Rhiannon Martin said
she was part of a seven-strong delegation visiting the
hotels, training grounds and stadiums of the nine New Zealand
cities that had lodged bids to host matches of the 2015 Fifa
Under-20 World Cup.
Although Dunedin had abandoned its bid, Fifa still wanted to
see the stadium.
''We are all based in Zurich, so, as we are here, on the
other side of the world in beautiful New Zealand, we thought
we would take the opportunity to come and have a look.''
The stadium had an ''ideal'' capacity for hosting a grand
final, she said.
''I've done stadium inspections throughout the world and I've
never seen one with a glass [sic] roof. It is very impressive
and the quality of the pitch is really good.''
The tournament would involve 24 teams playing 52 games in
June and July, she said.
The tournament dates would dictate if Fifa required the
exclusive use of the stadium during the event, she said.
''This would be something we would need to discuss. We have a
whole legal team back in Zurich who will be working on the
stadium agreements and host city agreements.''
However, Fifa was not considering the financial
arrangements yet, which were being handled by the local
organising committee, she said.
Local organising committee project manager Peter O'Hara said
he had been planning the tournament for the past two years.
Although Dunedin had abandoned its bid, the council had
offered to make the stadium available at ''nil or minimal
cost'' so there was a chance Dunedin could still be involved,
Last week, Mayor Dave Cull said when the council compared the
costs imposed by Fifa to the likely returns, the economic
benefit for Dunedin was marginal.
For the bid, it had been expected the council would have to
pay $450,000 over three years to Fifa to cover Dunedin's
share of tournament costs if its bid to secure games -
including a semifinal and the final - was successful.
Mr O'Hara said an economic impact report created by an
independent organisation showed how potential host cities
could share in $25 million of economic benefits.
''And that's a very conservative number. It was deliberately
conservative at the time because of the mood in New Zealand.
People who have hosted sports events have been burned, and
cities have been burned ... we have been careful to pitch it
Hamilton put in a hosting bid after the sports and business
community raised $400,000 and lobbied the council, he said.
He hoped the Dunedin community would ''step up and say `we
really want this event','' he said.
''I think Dunedin has all sorts of options open to it and I'd
love to see them explore them further in the next couple of
The Fifa inspection tour of the nine cities would conclude
next Thursday and he would meet Fifa in Zurich on February
12. A decision would be announced soon after, he said.