Nassau, 29 Nov 2015 – Two of the top officials in the world of football met with Acting Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson and Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary Harrison Thompson today, and scored their first goal – assurance that government would provide “the highest level of cooperation” as the country prepares to host the FIFA 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup Bahamas.
“We appreciate the fact that The Bahamas has been selected to host the Beach Soccer World Cup in 2017 and we want to assure you that you will receive the highest level of support and cooperation from this Government,” said Davis during a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister attended by local and international officials including Jaime Yarza, FIFA Director of Events Worldwide and Juan Cusco, President FIFA Beach Soccer Worldwide. “We are 100% behind the program.”
Still 17 months out, the Beach Soccer World Cup scheduled for April 2017 is expected to be one of the largest draws sports tourism has ever enjoyed. Participation is being compared to the IAAF World Relays and the Battle for Atlantis, events that pack hotels, flood restaurants, fill taxis, drive shopping and attract an active lifestyle tourist who wants the best of The Bahamas.
According to officials, 16 countries will qualify to field full teams for matches that take place over an extended 10-day period with each team bringing a complement of 25 persons or more. Because of the length of the competition, economic benefits are being touted as in the multi-millions of dollars.
“Beach soccer is one of the quickest-growing sports worldwide,” said Cusco. “Not long ago there were 50 countries with beach soccer teams. That has grown to over 150 countries in the last few years and that is fantastic for islands like The Bahamas because it is a sport that is attracting young, healthy players.”
Noting the rapid progress the country has made in catapulting to world status as a venue for major sports events and what it takes to pull off those events seamlessly, especially those televised live, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture reinforced the offer of assurance.
“This is an example of the branding of Sports in Paradise,” Johnson said, “and an opportunity for us to say beach soccer is better in The Bahamas. We welcome you and look forward to your event and your social responsibility.”
FIFA is known for the positive imprint it leaves on communities and its top officials hinted The Bahamas would continue to benefit as it has with contributions that include the Beach Soccer field on the harbourfront near the Paradise Island Bridge, the only one of its kind worldwide.