World Cup Archive

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Turfgate: FIFA’s Valcke affirms that a men’s World Cup could be staged on turf

fifa-logoIn an interview/press release posted on FIFA.com, FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said that a men’s World Cup played on artificial turf could be organized sooner rather than later.

More of Valcke’s statement:

“By the way, for many years now, any organizer of a FIFA event — irrespective of whether it be a men’s or women’s competition, including the men’s World Cup – has had the right to propose for the tournament to be played on artificial turf, provided that it is of the highest quality and the same playing surface is used for all venues and training sites. It could well be that sooner rather than later the men’s World Cup will also be played on artificial pitches. The Canadian Soccer Association proposed for the tournament to be played on artificial turf based on the fact that most sporting infrastructure in Canada is on artificial turf, primarily due to the extreme climate in the host country. It would be very difficult to ensure solid natural-grass pitches at all venues. As has already been explained, this is not a question of money, or of differences between men’s and women’s events, but it is a matter of the natural conditions in Canada: We want to guarantee consistent top-level playing conditions for all 24 teams during the event, both in the official stadiums and at the training sites. This has been the sole reason behind the decision to play on artificial turf from day one.”

This statement is an important one. While no doubt many will scoff at the notion of a men’s World Cup being played on turf — and will say that Valcke is simply playing politics — this statement from a top FIFA official carries weight. Why? The legal team representing the women’s players who are taking the CSA to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario claim that their clients are being asked to play their World Cup on turf, when it’s something FIFA would never ask of the men. But FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association can now say, “if it’s good enough for women, it’s good enough for men.”
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Turfgate: Canadian Soccer Association will argue Ontario tribunal has no right to rule on Women’s World Cup venues in other provinces

fwwc2015_oe_4ct_lThe Canadian Soccer Association and its lawyers are prepared to argue that the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has no jurisdiction to hear a complaint that the use of turf surfaces at the 2015 Women’s World Cup is an example of gender inequality.

That’s because the HRTO is a provincial body, not a federal one. And, because five of the six venues for the Women’s World Cup are outside of the province of Ontario, the question is why the HRTO would hear the case in the first place. The final will be held at BC Place in Vancouver. More games will be held in Alberta — at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium — than any other host city. So why hear the case in Ontario?

Sean Hern, a lawyer with the Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP firm that’s representing the CSA, says it’s the legal question that his side will press at the tribunal. In a conference call held Wednesday, he said it is “unclear how tribunal would have jurisdiction over playing surfaces and stadiums in another province.”

In the minds of the CSA and its lawyers it’s “likely” that the HRTO does not have jurisdiction over what goes on in other provinces, and Hern says it’s a matter that will be argued.

A group of elite women’s players have applied to the HRTO to hear their pleas for the 2015 WWC to not be held on artificial turf. They claim it’s a second-class surface which causes more injuries than playing on grass. But the CSA claims that turf surfaces designated as FIFA two-star are first-class, and are allowed by the sport’s governing body.
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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.
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NASL Commissioner talks about Canada’s long-term plans, expansion and league format

Bill Peterson

Bill Peterson

NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson says his league is looking closely at one unnamed Canadian market as an expansion candidate, and is supportive of the long-term goals of the Canadian Soccer Association.

In a state-of-the-NASL conference call held Thursday morning, Peterson said he would be talking with CSA officials later in the day to discuss the organization’s long-term vision for the game in Canada. And he said the NASL would support the CSA’s vision, even if it includes the eventual launch of a Canadian Division “1A” league.

“We will have discussions with the CSA looking at the long-term future, what it looks like,” Peterson said. “We are open and supportive to what the long-term goals are going to be.”
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FCE’s home opener against the Fury moved to Commonwealth

PHOTO: CITY OF EDMONTON

PHOTO: CITY OF EDMONTON

FC Edmonton has announced that its NASL fall-season home opener against the Ottawa Fury will be moved to Commonwealth Stadium.

But just how many — or how few — sections of the 56,000-seat stadium will be filled could depend on television licensing issues.

The Eddies were forced to move the game because they could not be 100-per-cent guaranteed that the installation of a new turf surface at Clarke Stadium would be done in time for Sunday’s match. General Manager Rod Proudfoot said it was likely that the Clarke Stadium work would be done on time. But, “likely” isn’t the same as “guaranteed.” And even if there was a one per cent chance that the Clarke resurfacing wasn’t going to be on schedule, the game had to be moved.

Now, this is where it gets tricky. The World Cup final kicks off Sunday at 1 p.m. local time. FC Edmonton hopes that it can open the Commonwealth gates at noon, and then show the game on the brand new Jumbotron that has been installed at the stadium. But it’s not that simple. The team confirmed it needs to ensure it has the rights to show the game at a ticketed event. And that means approaching either the CBC and/or FIFA.
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The Power and Politics of the 2014 World Cup and Beyond: Join us for a night of stimulating soccer discussion

2014FIFAWorldCuplogo2-FIFAWant to talk about the World Cup, and what it means on a global scale? How soccer influences international politics? And what it will mean if Canada wins the right to host the 2026 World Cup?

The Canadian International Council is sponsoring a free-to-attend event on Tuesday, July 8. Featuring the CBC’s Tim Adams, FC Edmonton coach and former Canadian international player and manager Colin Miller and yours truly, we will discuss the World Cup and its impact on the world, plus a look at what soccer success on the domestic level would mean to Canada as a whole. It’s a night that meshes sport, international relations and political discourse, with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and get involved in the discussion.

(UPDATE: Canadian Soccer Hall of Famer Janine Helland has been added to the panel!)

The night : “The Power and Politics of the 2014 World Cup and Beyond” will start at 6 p.m. July 8 at The Pint in downtown Edmonton at 10125 109th St.

The info can be found by clicking the poster link below.
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CBC’s great World Cup numbers and how they could boost Canada’s bid for 2026

2014FIFAWorldCuplogo2-FIFAMy inbox regularly pings when yet another press release about TV ratings comes out.

It sorta works like this. If ratings are good (such as this World Cup, or Olympic hockey numbers), the network that’s got the rights wants to tell as many people as it can about its success: How many people watch, what are the key demographics, when the broadcast reached its peak viewership.

Now, if the ratings are poor, we get nothing, nada. How did last year’s MLS Cup do, ratings-wise, on TSN? We didn’t get a press release on that.

Of course, the average journalist gets so many of these big-TV-numbers releases, that they simply become background noise.

But the CBC’s numbers for this World Cup deserve a mention. Not because anyone needs to be pumping up the CBC’s tires. The network has already announced that, in its post-NHL life, it is getting out of the sports business. Why do we need to celebrate the numbers? Because the outstanding TV viewership tallies can be used by the Canadian Soccer Association for a greater purpose.
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Montagliani’s vision: A Canadian Division 1A that “coexists” with MLS, NASL

Victor Montagliani

Victor Montagliani

The second issue of Plastic Pitch, released today, features a 16-page section on Canada’s bid for the 2026 World Cup, with stories from five different writers.

(For those new to us, Plastic Pitch is our dedicated magazine for iPad, smartphones and Android readers — you can get either issue 1 or 2 or subscribe through iTunes, Newsstand, Google Play or Amazon, links at the bottom of the article)

But, there’s one part of that World Cup section that’s sure to get a lot of attention. And that’s the stated Canadian Soccer Association goal of an all-Canadian Division One — or “1A,” as CSA President Victor Montagliani called it in our interview.

Say it with me. An all-Canadian league. Division one, not two or three or four.

Over the last year, I’d heard whispers about the possibility of an all-Canadian Division One. But getting anyone to confirm that… well, that was the thing. It was like the Great White Whale. Now, it’s out there. Officially. The recognition that Canada needs its own league; that we can’t redefine our developmental pyramid unless a Canadian Division One — which puts the interest of Canadian soccer at the forefront — is at the top.
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Issue 2 of Plastic Pitch: An in-depth look at Canada’s 2026 World Cup bid

PPitch2_SUMMER_UNCORRECTEDAs we enjoy the current World Cup action from Brazil, Canadians can wonder what it would be like to host the world 12 years from now.

Can we afford it? How far are we into our bid for the 2026 World Cup? What kind of support exists from CONCACAF? And what would happen to all of the hard work that’s already gone into the bid if FIFA takes the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar and gives it to the United States?

The second issue of Plastic Pitch, out today, features a 16-page section on Canada’s bid for the World Cup. Get it today on iOS(CLICK HERE), Google Play(CLICK HERE) or Amazon(CLICK HERE). For current subscribers, just grab the new issue when you open the app.
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CSA continues to talk about 2026 World Cup bid: Why an early statement of intent is vital

Victor Montagliani

Victor Montagliani

The Canadian Soccer Association’s plan to bid for the 2026 World Cup isn’t exactly a secret. In fact, it’s been openly talked about since FIFA confirmed this country as the host of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

CSA president Victor Montagliani continued the pattern this weekend, telling the CBC that all the ducks are being placed in a row for an official bid that will come in a couple of years time. (CLICK HERE)

This only echoes CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli’s comments that he made to the media in Edmonton back in March, where he called the U-20 World Cup and Women’s World Cup the “building blocks” toward a 2026 World Cup bid. (CLICK HERE)

Montagliani and Montopoli are doing the right thing, revealing the CSA’s intentions well ahead of the actual bid process.

Of course, how seriously our bid will be received will depend on how well we do as hosts of the Women’s World Cup. But, by making no secret of Canada’s intentions, we’re the first country in CONCACAF to plant our flag. And that’s important. CONCACAF feels that this region will get the 2026 World Cup (CLICK HERE), especially after the American bid was rebuffed for Qatar 2022. Of course, that could mean there are American and/or Mexican bids to come, depending on how many billions of dollars or pesos their governments wish to spend (or not spend).

Canada is in a unique position. We share our first division with the United States — or, as the cynic would say, we have three Canadian teams in American first division. But, with an early statement of intent, the CSA can use that relationship to its favour.
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