(Facebook/Canada Soccer)

Ottawa pledges $5 million for North American World Cup soccer bid

Friday deadline for joint Mexico-Canada-US bid to host soccer in 2026

The federal government officially threw its support behind the North American bid for the 2026 World Cup on Tuesday, with the promise of up to $5 million in immediate help should the unified bid win.

Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are up against Morocco to host the men’s soccer showcase. Their bid books go to FIFA at the end of the week with a decision to be made June 13 at the FIFA congress.

Tuesday’s announcement at BMO Field was the latest in a string of news events designed to show the bid is on track. Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton, identified as potential Canadian candidate cities, have already endorsed the bid.

The feds joined them Tuesday.

“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.”

She said Ottawa will commit up to $5 million going forward should the bid win. Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, said that money would be used during the transition period from when the bid is awarded to when FIFA essentially takes over running the tournament.

The federal government will also help with essential services such as security and border control as it did during the Women’s World Cup in 2015.

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 U.S.

Montopoli noted that Canada has hosted every FIFA world championship save the men’s World Cup. Should the unified bid win, Canada would be the only country to have hosted them all.

“So in saying that, it is our time,” he added.

The new competition format will feature 16 groups of three with the top two from each pool advancing to a 32-team knockout. The tournament time period will remain at 32 days.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Photos: Women’s Spirituality Circle celebrates healing after wildfires

Gathering draws women of all ages from many backgrounds to come together and “rise from the ashes”

Williams Lake’s anual Irish Pub Bonspiel finals tomorrow

Curling Club hosts season’s final bonspiel

Cariboo Rotary clubs receive $64,000 for wildfire recovery projects

Donations from across country result in $16,000 per club for wildfire prevention and recovery

Future emergency preparedness key cornerstone of CRD wildfire report

Treat locals as assets, not liabilities, among recommendations

Northern B.C. communities offer affordable home ownership, states report

Communities of 100 Mile House and Williams Lake less affordable in 2017 than previous year

Therapy dog newest member of Victim Services

Puppy supports victims of crime in Williams Lake

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Canadian Paralympic team picked up record 28 medals

The 55 athletes strong had set a cautious goal of 17 medals for PyeongChang

Canadian comic Mike MacDonald dies at 63

Ottawa-born comedian had performed on David Letterman

B.C. VIEWS: Speculation tax, cabin tax or asset tax?

Targeting empty homes seems confused and ineffective

Inspections, training needed to prevent repeat of Fernie ammonia leak across B.C.

Ammonia is inherently dangerous and should be not used in skating and curling rinks, says one expert

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Most Read