The first day of the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup kicked off today in Tahiti, with a press conference from FIFA officials addressing the media.
FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, FIFA Beach Soccer Committee Chairman and FIFA Executive member Marco Polo Del Nero, Tournament director Joan Cusco, Tahitian Football Federation President Thierry Ariiotima and Local Organising Committee President Vairani Davio were all present for the opening of the showcase event.
The competition will be looking to follow on from the successes of the 2011 competition in Ravenna, Italy. The video above shows the top 10 goals of the last tournament, and is a taste of what we can expect to see this time around.
Valcke was understandably enthusiastic for the first World Cup to be hosted in the Pacific Region.
"This is the first time in the Pacific Region that a World Cup has been organised and we believe that the transformation has reached such a level that we will be able to organise other FIFA events in the region."
"Maybe we could have a Futsal World Cup because the infrastructure requirements could be easily met."
"To give you an idea about the evolution of beach soccer, for the next editions in 2015 or 2017 we have received more than ten applications for hosting. From the east to the west the world is more and more interested in this sport."
"For FIFA it is a tool for development because there is no other way to develop the best players in the world without youth programmes. And it procures some social benefits as well of course."
Marco Polo Del Nero, the FIFA Beach Soccer Committee Chairman, took time to thank the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
"Thank you to the LOC for the great organisation achieved so far. I appreciate the high level of work done to make sure the competition will be a success."
"We had the Beach Soccer Committee meeting yesterday where all areas were covered, and I am happy to report that everything seems to be ready for the kick-off which is very good news for me as the Chairman."
"I am now looking forward to enjoying the matches and seeing the evolution of the game in general."
Holders Russia will be looking to defend their title, whilst beaten finalists Brazil are strong favourites.
Meanwhile, Spain and United States will take to the centre stage in the tournament opener this afternoon.
Tahiti, the tournament hosts, kick off their tournament this evening against the United Arab Emirates.
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