4 Mar 2011

NZ chosen to host under-20 football World Cup

8:46 am on 4 March 2011

New Zealand has been chosen to host the 2015 FIFA under-20 men's football World Cup, pipping Wales for the rights.

New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum says that, put simply, the decision - announced in Zurich on Friday - is huge.

With 24 nations and 52 matches, the under-20 cup tournament is FIFA's second largest behind the senior men's event, and rivals the FIFA Women's World Cup as its next most important.

Broadcast in more than 200 countries it potentially has a cumulative audience of 500 million viewers.

Mr van Hattum says the decision is a great vote of confidence in New Zealand, given the tournament's scale and significance. He acknowledges that New Zealand's hosting of this year's Rugby World Cup was a factor in the success of the bid, and says New Zealand 2015 will also have cross-code benefits.

The tournament will be spread across at least six as yet undecided venues.

New Zealand previously hosted the FIFA men's under-17 tournament in 1999 and the women's under-17 finals in 2008.