(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

Sunshine Valley songbird releases EP

Fifteen-year-old Ashley Pater has been singing and performing since age 9

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Hope stylist holds hair-athon for a good cause

Shayla Ross donating all proceeds of $10 cuts to the food bank

Hope arena turns green for hockey tourney

A second attempt at green ice, with proper ice paint, after food colouring experiment last year

Project Hope celebrates first birthday

Also: lego-mania comes to town, lineup of all-female comedians entertains Friday

VIDEO: LEGO fundraiser builds playground purse

Inspired families built LEGO creations, helped Silver Creek build playground

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Horse found stuck in muddy field rescued in Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge firefighters set up a pulley system to drag the horse to solid ground

VIDEO: Two Maple Ridge contortionists have sights set on Cirque

The Pair competed at the Viva festival in Vegas and are now auditioning for spot on America’s Got Talent

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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

Most Read