The ambassadors of the countries fielding teams in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 were today the guests in Berlin of the German Government and the Organizing Committee. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and Steffi Jones, the President of the Organizing Committee, gave a warm welcome in the Kommandantenhaus Unter den Linden to the representatives of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Equatorial Guinea, France, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Sweden and the United States.
Films on the Women’s World Cup cities and stadia and discussions on the importance of women’s football and Germany’s role as host country gave the guests a flavour of the excitement to come when this top international sporting event kicks off. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 will be taking place here from 26 June to 17 July. In a festive yet relaxed atmosphere, Steffi Jones, Guido Westerwelle and Thomas de Maizière spoke on a host of issues surrounding the forthcoming event. All three emphasized that the contest is not only a major sporting event but also serves to build bridges of friendship. As host also of the Men’s Football World Cup in 2006, Germany hopes this tournament, too, will be a “summer fairytale”.
“We’ve at last stepped onto the world stage. On our recent welcome tour we’ve been telling the participating countries about our plans for the first Women’s World Cup here in Germany. And just as important for us, we want also their ambassadors and the relevant communities here to know what’s going on. We’re greatly looking forward to all our guests and we’re doing our very best to ensure both the fans and the teams have a fantastic time,”
explained Steffi Jones, the President of the Organizing Committee.
Deputy Chancellor and Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle commented that
“football builds bridges – across the barriers of language, politics and culture. Football brings people together from all over the world, it fosters international understanding. And football is very important in determining what image a country has abroad. In this sense the players in the 16 national teams taking part in the contest are clearly ambassadors for their countries. I’m very much looking forward to welcoming them soon to Germany.”
Federal Minister de Maizière used the occasion to introduce the representatives of the participating countries to the sixteen future liaison officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office. In the summer each one will have the job of accompanying and looking after a particular team during their entire stay in Germany.
“We want our guests to feel thoroughly safe and comfortable here in Germany. And we will do everything possible to ensure the World Cup 2011 – like the World Cup 2006 – is an unforgettable experience both for the teams and for the fans from all over the world. This context will, I’m quite sure, be a huge boost for women’s football,”
Thomas de Maizière emphasized on Monday in Berlin.