29 Jan 2013

Taranaki makes case to hold World Cup matches

1:18 pm on 29 January 2013

New Plymouth considers itself a contender to host the men's Under-20 World Cup matches in 2015, but the mayor is not saying what it is going to cost.

New Zealand Football has won the right to host the tournament and New Plymouth is one of nine cities that has put in bids to host some of the 52 matches.

Officials from the sport's ruling body, FIFA, are in New Zealand to tour proposed venues.

Mayor Harry Duynhoven would not be drawn on Monday on how much the North Island city would invest, saying only that he is not proposing to spend great amounts of money.

However, he did admit that hosting matches is an opportunity New Plymouth can't afford to pass up.

FIFA officials spoke highly of the standard of Yarrow Stadium, the city's record in hosting 2011 Rugby World Cup games and the scenic beauty of the area when they visited on Monday.

Taranaki's economic agency believes New Plymouth has excellent credentials to be a host city.

Venture Taranaki chief executive Stuart Trundle said feedback from media, teams and the community after the Rugby World Cup showed that the stadium was one of the favourite venues.

"We think that's a very good platform to present the case."

Mr Trundle said the stadium has a stunning backdrop of Mt Taranaki, which provides an additional attraction for TV coverage.

Hosting FIFA matches is a strong investment opportunity and part of the region's strategy in making the community vibrant and an attractive place for skilled workers to live, he said.

FIFA says only six or seven cities will be selected to host matches.