World Cup stadium upgrades for Dunedin

About $1.6 million of government money will be spent to renovate four Dunedin sports-grounds in preparation for the Fifa Women’s World Cup next year.
Dunedin Stadium (Forsyth Barr Stadium), Tahuna Park, Logan Park 6 and the Caledonian Ground will soon be upgraded for the Dunedin fixtures in the World Cup, taking place from July 21 to August 1.

About $19 million will be spent to improve 30 sporting facilities across the country.

Football South chief executive Dougal McGowan said about $1.6 million would be spent renovating the grounds, which would include gender neutral changing rooms, new lighting and pitch upgrades.

Ten teams would play six games between them in Dunedin.

More than a billion pairs of eyes would be on Dunedin during the cup and it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city, he said.

However, to do so the facilities had to be improved, such as installing or upgrading lights to meet Fifa’s minimum requirements.

Most of the money would go towards upgrading Tahuna Park, Logan Park 6 and the Caledonian Ground.

It was fortunate none of the grounds were owned by a club, as the renovations would not interrupt any specific club’s training, he said.

Football South girls and women development officer Jess Fuller said many female players did not feel comfortable getting changed at the grounds, as they lacked good quality dedicated facilities. The

World Cup was the biggest women’s sporting event the city would have ever seen. She anticipated that many locals would not realise how important it was until it started.

‘‘A lot of people don’t actually understand the scope of the tournament,’’ she said.

She had visited schools lately and saw many young girls were excited about the event.

A Dunedin City Council spokesman said at least one of the grounds might be used as a base camp for a team, a new concept for the event which would see each team use a ground as a headquarters for the cup.

Dunedin was working closely with Fifa representatives, the Government and other cities in the lead-up to the tournament to prepare for the event, he said.

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