FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP TAHITI 2013
11 Nov 2013
An unforgettable World Cup in Tahiti
By JÃ©rÃ´me Valcke, FIFA Secretary General
Looking back at the recent FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti, it is clear that the event was a great success with far-reaching scope.
This was the first senior FIFA competition ever to have been held in the Oceania region, and it gave us the opportunity to enjoy the best of beach soccer in a beautiful natural environment, as well as to witness a new chapter in the sportâ€™s young history. The competition included some firsts: the first OFC team â€“ Tahiti â€“ progressing to a World Cup semi-finals; Spain, a powerhouse in the discipline, reaching a Beach Soccer World Cup final for the first time; and two new teams playing in the competition for the first time, the Netherlands and Paraguay. But most importantly of all, Tahiti did a great job in staging the tournament.
With teams, media, fans and delegations flying in from all corners of the world, and TV distribution in over 190 countries, organising a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Papeete was always going to be a huge challenge. But the enthusiasm, thoroughness and professionalism displayed by the Local Organising Committee meant FIFA always felt confident in their abilities. That confidence was not misplaced â€“ from the very first moment, it was clear that the whole of Tahiti was passionate about hosting the Beach Soccer World Cup, which the locals took as their own and turned into one big party. As well as being a showcase for the sport, it was also an opportunity to promote the delights of French Polynesia to a global audience â€“ the pristine beaches, amazing landscape and strong culture.
Staging such a major international event put the organising abilities of the LOC to the test â€“ a test that they passed with flying colours. At the same time, they demonstrated to the world that the magic ingredients for success are teamwork and togetherness, and the passionate involvement of the whole community. It was up to the people of Tahiti to turn this Beach Soccer World Cup into something unique, and they did just that, with more than 500 volunteers putting in tireless amounts of energy and enthusiasm.
With the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013, which will no doubt be remembered as a fantastic event for many years to come, the people of Tahiti have proved to the world that they are ready to host any major sporting event and tackle any challenge.
Mauruuru Roa, Tahiti!