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Kingdom’s World Cup preparations on track

By Muath Freij - May 10,2015 - Last updated at May 10,2015

AMMAN – Jordan's preparations for hosting the first ever women's World Cup football event in the region are ongoing and one of the major stadiums is almost ready, the head of the organising committee told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Jordan will host the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, providing four major stadiums to host the matches.

"The stadium's pitch is ready yet there is a lot of work that has to be done and I am sure by 2016 the stadiums will be spectacular and ready to host this tournament," Samar Nassar, CEO of the event’s organising committee, told The Jordan Times.

The four stadiums are located in three cities — Amman, Irbid and Zarqa.

Amman International Stadium, located in Al Hussein Youth Sports City, has a capacity of 13,000 spectators is 11 minutes away from the Amman hotel district.

King Abdullah International Stadium, located at King Abdullah II Sports City, has a capacity of 12,000 spectators and lies 15 minutes away from the Amman hotel district.

Irbid's Prince Al Hassan Stadium, located at Al Hassan Sports City, has a capacity of 12,000 spectators and is located 88 kilometres north of Amman.

Prince Mohammad Stadium, located in Zarqa, has a capacity of 12,000 spectators and is 33 kilometres northeast of Amman.

A total of 16 teams will compete in the tournament which will run for 22 days, according to the committee.

Nassar stressed that there is a lot happening behind the scenes preparing for the competition.

"We were awarded this competition at the end of 2013. In 2014 we were working on the construction plans and that takes time because we have to meet FIFA requirements," she said, adding that the training pitches and facilities have to be ready six months before the beginning of the contest.

Nassar described the government as "supportive".

"They have been very supportive though we had a bit of a slow start but we are catching up now. I am very comfortable with the government support and they put up a good budget for renovating the infrastructure and we do not want to put any additional burden on them," she added.

Nassar said the organising committee is responsible for raising the necessary funds for the organisational aspect.

"The cost of the infrastructure for the tournament will be around JD20 million," she added.

The organising committee official said the World Cup is an opportunity for Jordanian women to shine and their talent to be exposed to the whole world, not only on the field, but also, off the field.

She said holding the event is an amazing opportunity for Jordan to have the World Cup in the centre of the Middle East and it will help the Kingdom raise awareness of the women's game.

The organising committee and HRH Prince Ali, president of the Jordan Football Association, president of the West Asian Football Federation, outgoing vice president of FIFA representing Asia and presidential FIFA candidate, unveiled the official emblem for the upcoming tournament during the 2015 Soccerex Asian Forum at the Dead Sea.

"As you can see from the logo it has the traditional Jordanian headdress and you have the Black Iris and all the elements of the Jordanian culture and heritage is in the logo," she added.

Nassar is aware that it is not going to be easy to fill up the stadiums for the matches.

"We do not only want the regular football fans, we want families and children to attend the matches too," she said.

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