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