China launched the emblem for FIFA Women's World Cup 2007 Sunday, kicking off the preparations for the tournament, which will come back to its cradle of China since the inaugural World Cup in 1991.
China was designated as World Cup 2003 host but gave up the right in final moment for the deadly SARS threat. FIFA then promised China the right to host the competition in 2007.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, unable to attend the ceremony, sent his congratulation letter, saying the tournament is "returning to its roots".
Sixteen national teams including host China will join the finals starting on September 10. The Cup's opener and final are scheduled in Shanghai as four other cities, Chengdu, Wuhan, Tianjin and Hangzhou, are selected to host group stage games and play-offs.
The official emblem represents the spirit of global unity and harmony of the FIFA Women's World Cup. The logo incorporates FIFA's brand colors - dark and light blue while an elegant brush stroke and a typographic reference, both building on the artistic principles of Chinese calligraphy, are depicted on a orange and yellow ground. The graphic curves, flowing movement and upward spiral of the design are a symbolic expression of the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy.
With the FIFA Women's World Cup 2007 emblem, FIFA enters a new era in the field of branding. The official emblem of the event is the first visual element under the new brand architecture with the aim to unify all different emblems and logos of the world's governing body of football including the 12 competitions and projects such as GOAL, Fair Play and the FIFA Quality Concept for footballs and artificial turf. The main feature of this new branding strategy is a consistent design for all FIFA activities. In addition, all FIFA tournaments will be called "World Cup" throughout. The FIFA corporate mark with the two globes is no longer component of any of the official emblems and will only be used for corporate communication purposes.
Familiar faces back in town
In Shanghai's Pudong Shangri-La Hotel, the press conference was a welcome home ceremony to many honored guests. FIFA Director of Development Mary Harvey told FIFA.com it felt great to come back to the country where she won the inaugural FIFA Women World Cup with United States back in 1991.
"One thing I remember well is that the people were so kind and helpful," the former international goalkeeper recalled. "During the past 15 years great changes have taken place. With more modern facilities we can expect the forthcoming FIFA Women World Cup to be a huge success."
Shanghai, China's largest and most populated metropolis, is the home town of recently voted FIFA Women Player of the Century, Sun Wen. The legendary striker is back on the international stage following a two-year break.
"Three years ago, I could never have envisaged what fate had in store," Sun Wen said. "In 2003, China was forced to relocate the last tournament to the United States. Soon after that, I retired from international football without hope of playing another FIFA Women's World Cup. It is truly amazing that I am here today at the emblem launch and will play the next Women's World Cup on home soil!"
The 32-year-old FIFA Ambassador for Women's Football Development has high hopes for China 2007 as she explained. "We finished runners-up in USA 1999 and I hope my team can do even better this time around. But to be honest, every team has a good chance to win the tournament and we are expecting the competition to be fierce," she said. "My only wish is that the World Cup will be an unprecedented success that will benefit the women's game the world over. The official emblem that we have launched today symbolizing the hopes we all have for a successful tournament."
Nan Yong, CFA Vice President and head of LOC to the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, summed up the hosts' good wishes. "The launch of this emblem is the perfect way to start our preparation work for the tournament. We hope that in 17 months' time, we will have reached all of our objectives and will be able to give everyone - FIFA officials, players, coaches and fans, the warmest of welcomes and make them feel as comfortable as possible when the Women's World Cup comes home."
(noticia/chinadaily, March 21, 2006)