15 Aug 2013

Cities to host U20s Football World Cup named

9:55 pm on 15 August 2013

The New Zealand cities that will host the Under-20 Football World Cup in 2015 have been named.

They are Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington and Whangarei.

All up, New Zealand will host 24 teams and 52 games between 30 May and 20 June 2015, in the first tournament to be held here.

It will be broadcast to about 170 million people in more than 100 countries.

The Junior All Whites have automatic entry because New Zealand is the host nation.

The grand final will be held at North Harbour Stadium, which is being used as Auckland's venue instead of Eden Park.

About 7000 international supporters are expected to visit New Zealand for the tournament.

Event chief executive David Beeche says a recent visit to Turkey to watch this year's tournament gave him an idea of what New Zealand can expect.

"These are the youngest, best players on the planet ... the athleticism, the skill, the talent was something we're just going to have to see to be believed. It wasn't just the way they were playing but it was the free spirit and the passion in the way they were playing as well."

Christchurch will get nine matches including one of the semi-finals.

Council recreation and sports manager John Filsell says there's a lot of work to do for the city to host the world's second biggest football tournament including finalising the four grounds to be used for training. He says they will require high-quality surfaces.

Mr Filsell says all the matches will be played at the temporary rugby stadium in Addington.