THOUGH the FIFA spotlight may beam brightest on the stadium, other facilities will fall under organizers' scrutiny in the lead-up to the tournament.
Hotels and practice fields in Winnipeg are also being reviewed, FIFA representatives said on Wednesday, to make sure the infrastructure is ready to host thousands of athletes, support staff, media and fans who are expected to congregate in Winnipeg for the event.
To help on that end, the province announced it will invest $900,000 in upgrading the St. Vital Memorial Park soccer field from grass to turf, to make it a suitable training ground for visiting teams. The money is being funneled through the province's Winnipeg community infrastructure program. On the legacy side of things, the upgrade will also help the St. Vital field stay dry, which in turn will extend its seasonal play time.
"It's truly important, because this is going to be a great practice facility," said Manitoba's Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux. "Going forward, it will give us a great opportunity for young people to be able to use that facility long after the women's championship has taken place."
National organizing committee CEO Peter Montopoli said his group is also pleased with the number of artificial turf fields that will be available for practices. "That's a real positive," he said. "There's really not a negative here to show."
As far as accomodations go, it's hard right now to say exactly how many hotels will be needed to help host teams, FIFA executive Tatjana Haenni said, but the FIFA delegation visited about four interested hotels on Wednesday. The federation will continue to work with local organizers to piece the Women's World Cup puzzle together.
"It's a process," she said. We are somewhere in the middle of it. There is still a lot of time to finish all the pieces left, but we're really on track, and really happy to be here."