4 Mar 2011

NZ to host 2015 Under 20 World Cup finals

6:15 am on 4 March 2011

New Zealand has been named to host the 2015 FIFA Under-20 men's football World Cup.

New Zealand beat Wales to the rights which FIFA announced this morning in Zurich.

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

The tournament is broadcast in over 200 countries and has a cumulative audience of around 500 million viewers.

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

New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum says put simply, it's huge.

He says for FIFA to award them the honour and responsibility of hosting is a great vote of confidence given its scale, significance and world-wide interest.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup has been the launching pad for many of football's past and present superstars including Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

The tournament will be spread across at least six venues although a final decision about which cities are included is yet to be made.

Van Hattum acknowledged the role New Zealand hosting this year's Rugby World Cup played in the success of the country's bid and says New Zealand 2015 will also have cross-code benefits.