With one year to go until Jordan hosts the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, a lead official has said that the event is a “saviour for Jordan Football”.
Speaking at a busy press conference marking the milestone, Jordan Football Association (JFA) Vice President, Engineer Salah Al Sabra, revealed the degree of work required on the venues to bring them up to world-class standards in time for the 22-day tournament next year.
“Four stadiums are having to be completely refurbished in order to meet the strict FIFA criteria,” he said. “But this is work that had to be done and without this tournament taking place in Jordan it may not have happened, and for sure these old stadiums would have to close for safety reasons in one or two years.
“This tournament provides a great legacy for Jordan. It is an investment so I have no doubt that the U17 Women’s World Cup is a savior for Jordan football.”
Al Sabra said that all four stadiums, as well as up to 30 training pitches, would be upgraded and ready before the summer and that test events would be held to assess their capabilities.
Samar Nassar, who heads up the Local Organising Committee (LOC), revealed that the work would cost up to 25 million JD with the budget coming from a number of internal and external sources.
“We are on track to complete the infrastructure on time and the next phase is to convince the Jordanian people that this is a tournament for the whole world and that the world will be watching,” she said.
“The facilities will not only leave a legacy for Jordan football, but the tournament will make a long lasting impact on the game as a whole here. We want to promote football to women and girls across the region and show that it is a game for everyone to play and enjoy.”
The press conference was attended by FIFA officials who said they were impressed by the work carried out to date by the LOC.
“The LOC has done a magnificent job,” said Tatjana Haenni, from FIFA. “There was a lot of work required but it is being done and we have every confidence that the tournament will be a success here. Everything is absolutely fine and totally on track.
“This work will also ensure that Jordan is capable of hosting more FIFA events in the future.”
Stadiums are set to close over the winter months to allow the new surfaces to be planted and final works to be carried out, but Al Sabra said it will be a short term pain for a long term gain with all clubs set to benefit.
The FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, which has the slogan ‘Jordan is our field’, will feature 16 teams, including the host country, and see 32 matches played.