March 14 – With precision timing just as bid books are to be presented to FIFA, Canada’s government has officially thrown its support behind the North American bid for the 2026 World Cup.
Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton have been identified as potential Canadian candidate cities and the government says $5 million will be provided should the three-nation bid defeat Morocco on June 13.
“It’s good for our athletes, it’s good for our communities, our economy, our reputation as an international sport leader,” said Kirsty Duncan, minister of science and minister of sport and persons with disabilities. “We are behind this bid.”
The unified bid plan calls for 10 matches in each of Canada and Mexico with 60 of the 80 games in the new expanded 48-team tournament format to be held in the US.
Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, discounted suggestions that Canada was not a sufficiently established footballing nation to stage the tournament.
He noted that Canada has hosted every FIFA world championship save the men’s World Cup. Held in six cities and provinces from coast to coast across Canada, 1.35 million spectators attended the last women’s World Cup – a record for the event – with an economic impact of nearly a half-a-billion dollars. “So in saying that, it is our time,” said Montopoli.
Steven Reed, President of Canada Soccer and Co-chair of the United Bid Committee, added: “Canada has raised the bar for women’s and youth FIFA competitions including the most recent record-setting FIFA Women’s World Cup and is the only G7 country to have not hosted the men’s competition.”
While the United Bid is expected to receive the support of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, that would only realise 42 votes, less than the entire African confederation, most of whom will support Morocco. That leaves Europe, Asia and Oceania as the key regions to get the eventual winner’s tally up beyond the 104 votes needed for victory.
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