Montopoli: Canada has no plans to share World Cup 2026 bid with another nation

Peter Montopoli

Peter Montopoli

The General Secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association made it clear: When Canada bids for the World Cup, it won’t have a dance partner.

Peter Montopoli was in Edmonton Wednesday, speaking to the Chamber of Commerce about the coming U-20 Women’s World Cup and the Women’s World Cup in 2015. But the Canadian Soccer Association’s bid for the 2026 World Cup, which is expected to go to FIFA some time in 2016, also came up.

And, when he was asked about the possibility of submitting a shared bid, Montopoli said the answer is no.

“It’s a single bid. It’s Canada, at this moment. It’s Canada, the Canadian Soccer Association that will be bidding, and we will continue along that line. There really have been no discussions on joint bids, either Mexico or the United States. It’s not a position we’re taking. It is a straight bid from the Canadian Soccer Association.”

Montopoli said that getting the 2026 World Cup would complete a journey that began in Edmonton in 2002, when 45,000 fans attended the final of the then-named U-19 Women’s World Championship, a predecessor of the U-20 Women’s World Cup. FIFA officials were startled by the Canadian suppot for women’s youth soccer, and that final put Canada on the road to hosting the U-20 World Cup in 2007, then the U-20 Women’s World Cup this year and the Women’s World Cup in 2015.

“The path of where we are going, in terms of soccer in this country, started in 2002, we’re weaving it through 2015, but I don’t think it’s going to end in 2015. We hope that it goes to 2026. We are planning to put a bid in, we are waiting for the FIFA protocols and all their documents and requirements for a men’s World Cup. We are familiar with it, but, until FIFA lays down the process it’s hard for us to comment on what it looks like.

“But we would like to make a serious bid. We would like to think that FIFA is looking at CONCACAF, our region. If you look at the last number of FIFA World Cups, they have not been in CONCACAF, so is it time for it to come back to CONCACAF? We’d like to think so. And, if it comes back, we will be ready to be the major bidder for 2026.”

The fact that next year’s Women World Cup will feature games spanning the second-largest nation in the world, in five time zones, should ease fears about hosting a World Cup which will require visitors and teams to fly from city to city, rather than take trains or buses. As well, a lot will be learned from the 2018 World Cup, which will be held in the world’s largest country by landmass, Russia.

“We will learn that from Russia,” said Montopoli. “We will learn how they are planning that and FIFA will learn from that, as well. Interestingly, Germany, in 2011 (Women’s World Cup) had one time zone. They bused every team to every match. We are pretty well flying teams to every match. People just don’t see from an organizational perspective how expensive it is for us to be doing something like this as opposed to a European country that gets a competition and hosts it and run it. I don’t want to say it’s simple; it’s not simple. But the logistically it’s much easier when you are within a car ride, a couple of hours, of all these venues. We’re not. We’re four hours, four and a half hours, by air, to get from Ottawa to Edmonton. But we’re used to being faced with the impossible in Canada. We say we’re going to do it, and we’ll do it well.”

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About Steven Sandor

I'm currently the colour commentator for FC Edmonton broadcasts on Sportsnet, and TEAM 1260. I've covered the Toronto FC beat for four years, worked for the Edmonton Aviators of the USL for a season, covered the Edmonton Drillers of the NPSL and started covering Canadian World Cup qualifiers in 1996. I've covered the CONCACAF Champions League and the U-20 World Cup. I'm passionate about soccer in North America.