Watson throws weight behind bid to bring 2026 World Cup to Canada

OBJ Staff
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The FIFA World Cup in 2026? If Mayor Jim Watson has his way, it’ll be happening in Ottawa.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

Mr. Watson has sent a letter Peter Montopoli, the general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, expressing his support for the organization’s bid to bring the event to Canada.

And he said the nation’s capital should play a big role.

“Ottawa possesses the world-class facilities, necessary amenities and network of planning professionals required to organize and stage a first-rate and very memorable FIFA World Cup,” reads Mr. Watson’s letter.

He said the group that runs the stadium at Lansdowne Park, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, has “shown a strong interest” in hosting the event.

He pointed out that the group played a major role in helping to bring the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup to Ottawa and that the stadium, now known as TD Place, can host more than 40,000 spectators.

However the Canadian Soccer Association will be playing from behind in its bid to win the 2026 tournament.

Many of the larger stadiums in the country – facilities such as the Rogers Centre in Toronto that would be prime candidates to host games – have plastic grass. That would make them unsuitable for an event like the World Cup.

A large portion of them are also too small as it stands now. That would require a significant investment in new infrastructure.

Oh and don’t expect to get much traction with the argument that the country deserves the tournament because of how good the host squad would be. The Canadian men’s soccer team was ranked 113th in the world as of February.

Organizations: Canadian Soccer Association, FIFA, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group Rogers Centre

Geographic location: Canada, Ottawa, Lansdowne Park Toronto

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  • Jeff
    March 04, 2014 - 16:47

    None of the last three arguments provided, that the current stadia have plastic grass, are too small and require upgrades (which they all do anyway), and that the Men's Nats are ranked shockingly low, should have any impact whatsoever on whether we're going to go into the bidding process as an underdog. We're the prime candidate . FIFA is looking for a country where the game still needs to grow. We're going to be establishing a national Div. 3 league at some point in the future, and perhaps the 2026WC would be the launching pad for it like the 94WC was for MLS in the US (and now here to a degree). Regardless, real grass can be, and has been, installed in stadiums that traditionally have artificial turf (and I believe the Jays are wanting the Argos to leave to BMO so they can install grass there anyway). The stadiums across the country are all going to be replaced sometime soon (Winnipeg and BC already, Regina before 2020, Calgary probably eventually, Edmonton probably eventually, Montreal eventually, etc...) which means we will have the stadia infrastructure in place. The ranking of the CanMNT is irrelevant as Qatar was ranked well below Canada when they were awarded the 2022WC. Try a little harder next time fellas when trying to pick out holes in the 2026WC boat, why don't ya...