CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in VANCOUVER: FIFA heralded the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada as the best ever edition of the tournament, but added that the 2019 event in France should be even better.
At the closing press conference for Canada 2015 in Vancouver, FIFA executive committee member Lydia Nsekera was joined by FIFA’s Head of Women’s Football, Tatjana Haenni along with leading figures of the national organising committee.
Ahead of today’s third place match on Saturday between England and Germany and then tomorrow’s final in Vancouver between Japan and the USA, Nsekera praised the record number of teams involved but said the hard work to improve the game across the world must continue.
“Generally speaking, for the last 10 years there has been an evolution of the World Cup so for me this Canada World Cup it really is the best,” she said.
“We have to develop women’s football. We have various levels according to various continents in the world. We always have programmes, we always have symposiums in order to develop this sport so that every continent can have this sport. So we have to continue developing.”
The praise comes even after fierce criticism from players and coaches for the decision to play all matches on artificial turf.
Haenni said that a working group was in attendance at every match gathering data on the pitches and that a survey from all teams would be put together to “find conclusions” from the first ever use of artificial turf in a senior FIFA competition.
Back to turf
But Haenni added that the organisers of the 2019 World Cup in France have confirmed that all matches will be played on real grass in that tournament.
She also said that the eighth edition of the women’s competition should be even better than this one in Canada.
“Every world cup has been described as best ever, and that shows we are in the development phase. I don’t want to spoil the mood here in Canada but I guess in four years we will be saying that will be the best world cup ever, just because of the momentum at the moment and keeps on going.”
FIFA still did not confirm though who would be handing the trophy to the winning team in the absence of president Sepp Blatter and Secretary General Jerome Valcke.
The assumption was that vice president Issa Hayatou would do the honours, as he is the most senior executive committee member at the tournament.
Haenni said: “I think who hands the trophy over and what kind of dignitaries we have, for the players and spectators it is not so important.”