FC Edmonton practices at Commonwealth Stadium in April, 2012.
The Canadian soccer community will have to wait a little longer on the City of Edmonton.
On Tuesday, members of city council decided not to vote on a funding framework for the renovation of Commonwealth Stadium, with an eye to have the revamped stadium ready for the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup. The City’s Community Services Committee was given the option of three renovation plans — but it was decided not to actually put any of the funding models to a vote till the end of the month.
It’s clear that the city recognizes that Commonwealth, a concrete giant that reminds you of stark Communist-era architecture, desperately needs an upgrade if the city is to attract any of the marquee matches. With Vancouver already having a renovated BC Place in operation, and a new $32.5 million soccer centre planned for the UBC campus, Edmonton is playing catch-up when it comes to Western Canada’s host cities.
What Edmonton does have working in its favour is the legacy of the 2002 U-19 Women’s World Championship, which saw Commonwealth Stadium slammed for women’s junior-level soccer in a way that FIFA had never seen before (or seen again). That still resonates with FIFA officials.
The city has undertaken a feasibility study for a new 10,000-15,000-seat soccer stadium, which would become the home for FC Edmonton. But Commonwealth’s status as a Women’s World Cup venue is a separate issue.
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