- Golden Ball shortlist announced at closing press conference
- APF President Robert Harrison highlights the legacy that will be left
- Head of FIFA Tournaments Jaime Yarza outlines digital success
There was a press conference to summarise the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 with Paraguayan Football Association (APF) President Robert Harrison, Head of FIFA Tournaments Jaime Yarza and APF General Secretary Luis Kanonnikoff, who is also involved with the Local Organising Committee, on the eve of the Final between Italy and Portugal.
Among the key discussion points was the unveiling of the ten-player shortlist for the adidas Golden Ball, as selected by the Technical Study Group (TSG). The shortlist is as follows (in alphabetical order): Takuya Akaguma (Japan), Coimbra (Portugal), Gabriele Gori (Italy), Jordan (Portugal), Leo Martins (Portugal), Ozu Moreira (Japan), Boris Nikonorov (Russia), Artur Paporotnyi (Russia), Fedor Zemskov (Russia) and Emmanuele Zurlo (Italy).
“We’ve seen a higher level of play here,” said Jaime Yarza. “Teams are playing better than before and that’s been confirmed by the TSG. We had more than 46 million views in terms of awareness, 1.7 million interactions and 14 million video views on social media – this is a new record for the Beach Soccer World Cup. We had 180 countries broadcasting some matches and all of the highlights. This shows the growth of the sport and how it’s been developing until now.”
Yarza ended his statement with a word for the fans in Paraguay: “I would like to remind fans to come to the stadium, and if the stadium is full, which we are expecting it to be, they can enjoy the games on the big screens at the Fan Zone and enjoy food and beverages there.”
“It’s a great honour to have this tournament,” said Robert Harrison. “The volunteers are doing excellent work and are here for their passion for the sport, so I thank all of you. The fans have been great in the stadium and in the Fan Zone.
“For us to have it in a landlocked country says a lot about the organisation and the trust of FIFA. This will leave a legacy of real importance with the stadium, training pitches and an overall level of professionalism that will help the development of hosting sporting events.”
Harrison later confirmed that the stadium will be used for many future competitions, including the U-20 CONMEBOL Beach Soccer Championship next week and possibly for other disciplines such as volleyball and futsal.
“I want to highlight the great legacy this will have in Paraguay,” said Luis Kanonnikoff. “We have a magnificent stadium in place with three training pitches with floodlights for the sport. The volunteers have done a wonderful job and they have been the soul of this tournament. We are happy with the attendance numbers of both locals and foreigners.”