Belgian men’s and women’s players back the BNG2027 bid

April 23 – With the FIFA Congress poised to choose the host for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027 next month in Bangkok, Insideworldfootball talks exclusively to two leading Belgian international players Amadou Onana and Justine Vanhaevermaet to gather their thoughts on the joint Belgian, Netherlands and German bid BNG2027 and what it would mean to have their tournament played in their home country.   Q. Belgium has joined forces with The Netherlands and Germany to bid for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027. What are your thoughts on the bid and its importance for football in Europe and the women’s game?

Amadou Onana: As a Belgian citizen and national team player my first emotions are ones of excitement and pride. Excitement because having the greatest football competition played in Belgium would be historical and would be an unbelievable moment and celebration for the country I grew up in.

Belgium is very understated and we live quite a discreet existence but I can tell you the passion for the game is off the scale.

The enthusiasm and festive atmosphere we could create alongside The Netherlands and Germany in hosting a FIFA World Cup would be very special for all who attend.

Belgian midfielder Onana Amadou says passion for the game in Belgium is off the scale. Photo by Jan De Meuleneir

Beyond the emotional side I believe our three countries have the necessary know-how and ability to take on the massive responsibility that comes with hosting a FIFA World Cup. Beside our football facilities you can add excellent tourist and travel infrastructure to ensure we have all the ingredients needed to welcome players and fans and offer them optimal conditions in the summer of 2027.

I have no doubt that a successful BNG2027 bid will deliver a FIFA World Cup of unquestionable excellence both on and off the field. The boost to the development of the women’s game will be massive.

No football competition offers as much visibility than a FIFA World Cup – that can surely do no harm to helping expand its popularity and in turn its development not just in our three countries or even Europe but across the world. That’s what we mean by Breaking New Ground!

Let me also state that hosting a FIFA World Cup would in itself be a huge honor and, if BNG2027 is successful, would showcase the very special heritage and hospitality of the three BNG countries and their ability to stage events of such global significance and impact. That in itself, as a Belgian citizen, would fill me with great pride.

Q. As an international men’s player do you follow the women’s game? What’s your view around its recent development and is it changing views within the men’s game?

Onana: I certainly do. Living in England it was impossible not to be caught up in the excitement and atmosphere created by the Lionesses’ achievement last year in Australia and New Zealand. The atmosphere across the country was contagious. In recent years we’ve also seen the rapid growth of the women’s professional club game. The Women’s Super League here in England is really exciting. The quality continues to develop at an astonishing rate. You can see that by the attendance of fans at matches which is growing all the time. It’s so exciting to see.

Our Red Flames are great players and great people who have the exact same passion and love for the game as the Red Devils. It’s amazing to see how fast the game has developed and the potential for it to continue to grow.

There is such a buzz around the women’s game – it’s infectious. Something special is happening. It’s about harnessing all that excitement and interest and using it in the best way possible to develop the game globally. A successful BNG2027 bid, I’m absolutely convinced, will help a lot in supporting FIFA achieve that.

Q. How far can this development go? Do you think the women’s game can reach levels of popularity similar to the men’s game? 

Onana: It’s hard to tell – the men’s game has been many years in the making in getting to the popularity levels it finds itself at today. Having said that, there is no doubt that the interest in the women’s game is very real and its potential significant. Under FIFA’s leadership my understanding is that a carefully considered roadmap has been set to take the women’s game to the next level in the coming years. The Vision BNG2027 has developed around its bid is very much centered around supporting FIFA meet it’s objectives for the development of women’s football globally.

Amadou says BNG2027 offers a significant platform for FIFA’s global ambition for the women’s game. Photo by Tomas Sisk / Photo News

A successful FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027 will provide a massive boost in enticing more girls to take up the game, attract more fans to follow it and by extension more sponsorship and broadcasting revenue. All of that combined will accelerate its development. BNG2027 offers a significant platform in helping achieve that.

I also believe that the women’s game should not be compared too much with the men’s one. It will create its own unique and stand-alone identity attracting perhaps a new form of fan base that will bring with it something a bit different to the men’s game. I’m excited to see how this development continues and ready to support, encourage and help in anyway possible.

Q. As a child playing football what did a FIFA World Cup inspire in you? 

Justine Vanhaevermaet: Very simple, nothing inspired me more than a FIFA World Cup. There is something unique and almost indescribable about a FIFA World Cup. It creates an emotion and a feeling to the game like nothing else. Every player and every fan will know what I mean.

For one month football takes over your life. Everywhere you look every conversation is about the World Cup. Families and friends get together to watch games and enjoy the excitement that only a FIFA World Cup generate. Even non-football fans get swept along in the wave of excitement and emotion.

Justine Vanhaevermaet and Tine De Caigny visit a school in Sint-Gillis-Waas

Historically, this comes from the men’s World Cup. But if you look at the growing success of the previous FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, you can sense that the women’s edition can have a similar impact in the future. I’m convinced that if our BNG2027 bid is successful we’ll be able to inspire millions of girls to take up the game and have them dream of performing at the highest level.

Q. What would it mean to you to be able to participate in a FIFA World Cup on home turf?

Vanhaevermaet: It’s hard to put into words what a BNG2027 World Cup would mean to me. It has always been my dream to represent my country in a World Cup one day. To have the possibility to do that in my home country would exceed this dream. It’s taken a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication to become a professional football player and I am therefore very proud of myself.

If Belgium alongside The Netherlands and Germany were to win the bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027Ô it would take things to a whole other level. Nothing absolutely nothing can beat representing your country on home soil at a FIFA World Cup. This is what dreams are made of. If fitness and form persists and BNG2027 wins the bid I may be able to live my dream.

Vanhaevermaet: ‘The impact would be huge’

Having followed the BNG2027 bid for many months now I can only say that the work and efforts that has been undertaken and the passion behind the bid cannot be questioned. The three bidding federations with the support of governments and public authorities have given their all to put forward the strongest bid possible.

As players, as fans that’s all you can ask for and we are fully behind and truly recognise the efforts that the RBFA, KNVB and DFB have undertaken around the bid. I hope that on 17th May the FIFA Congress will recognise these efforts and view BNG2027 as the best placed bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027.

If it does, I can assure you we will not disappoint and that traveling players and fans will have memories of the summer of 2027 to last a lifetime.

Q. What impact could a BNG2027 World Cup have for the womens game both in the host nations and beyond?

Vanhaevermaet: Without doubt the impact would be huge. At present the interest in women’s football in Belgium is growing at high speed and that can be accelerated if the BNG2027 bid is successful.

The unique vibe and atmosphere a FIFA World Cup can create in the country alongside the intense visibility the game would enjoy over the period of the tournament would deepen the engagement in women’s football both from a playing and fan perspective. I have no doubt that within months of the World Cup the numbers of girls starting to play football will rise significantly.

Vanhaevermaet: ‘The need to carry positive impact beyond our borders is very much part of our DNA’

 

Beyond the hosting nations, BNG2027 has shaped a Vision which has at it’s heart the focus to attract record revenues for a FIFA Women’s World Cup which FIFA can then use to support the development of the women’s game across the world. BNG2027 bid leaders have been very clear. They are putting this bid forward with a clear understanding that a successful BNG2027 bid has a duty and responsibility to support FIFA in developing the women’s football across the world. The need to carry positive impact beyond our borders is very much part of our DNA. From a player’s perspective I’m just excited to see all the efforts that are being made to encourage young girls to start playing and enjoying the game we all love.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1716027427labto1716027427ofdlr1716027427owedi1716027427sni@o1716027427fni1716027427