Update provided on Ferns’ emergency evacuation from Auckland hotel

None of the Football Ferns have suffered ill effects from their emergency evacuation from their Auckland hotel after Saturday night’s suspicious fire.

In an update from team management, a statement from New Zealand Football says:

“New Zealand Football welcome the news that a man has been arrested following a suspicious fire at the Pullman Hotel, the Football Ferns team hotel for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“The 34-year-old has been charged with burglary and arson and is due to appear in Auckland District Court on Monday.

“The fire does not appear to have been targeted at the team, FIFA or the FIFA Women’s World Cup in general.

“No players or staff have suffered any ill effects from the fire.

“The team’s schedule hasn’t been impacted, and they remain fully focused on preparing for their second game at the FIFA Women’s World Cup against Philippines on Tuesday in Wellington.”

Andrew Pragnell: ‘Encouraged by response’

On Sunday, NZ Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell told a media briefing at the Pullman Hotel:

“I want to express sincere thanks to the New Zealand police. We are really lucky as a country to live with first responders who’ve reacted the way they have.

“The other observation is the professionalism of FIFA in managing the situation.

“Within minutes, they were preparing or considering alternate accommodation that could be used in the event we couldn’t move back in, but a real thorough assessment of the hotel by everyone confirmed that it was a safe environment to be moving back into.

“Obviously, these things are not ideal, but I’m really encouraged by the way everyone’s responded.”

Main photo: Andrew Pragnell briefs the media on Saturday night’s events.

CJ Bott: ‘We felt perfectly safe’

Ferns defender CJ Bott told the media:

“One of the fire exits was a bit smokey, but the majority of us got down the other safe exit, and we exited the building perfectly fine, perfectly healthy.

“We just spent the rest of the evening in another location until the hotel was clear and everything was safe to go back.

“We felt perfectly safe. We were informed, and we saw plenty of security around.

“We definitely felt safe enough to return and things just went back to normal straight after.”

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