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Canada’s Minister of Sport on our 2026 bid

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Canada was the first nation on the planet to publicize its intention to host the 2026 World Cup. But, when the Canadian Soccer Association made that call, Victor Montagliani was the president of the organization. He is now the CONCACAF president, and has less than a year before he must step down from the CSA to avoid conflicts with his new job.

But, more importantly, the intention to bid was launched during the Conservative era; Stephen Harper was the prime minister. The Tories were in power during the run-up and contesting of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Now, Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister, at the head of a Liberal majority. So, how does the new regime see our bid for the World Cup? We asked Carla Qualtrough, the Minister of Sport and Persons With Disabilities.

PP: Have there been any discussions about the funding/political will needed from the Liberal government in order to launch such a bid — and to stage the event if Canada would indeed be the winning nation?

Minister of Sport and Persons With Disabilities Carla Qualtrough

CQ: The Canadian Soccer Association is a valued national sport partner as the caretaker of the game here in Canada and our country’s representative around the international soccer table. Hosting a major international sporting event in Canada is a substantial commitment on the part of the Canadian Government and given the competing interests for federal funds, we must always consider the opportunities as well as the opportunity costs of supporting such events. The Government of Canada supports the hosting of events that encourage participation in sport and active lifestyles, showcase Canada’s great cities and provinces, and help enhance infrastructure and opportunities for local economies.

In addition to the sport benefits and legacies of sport hosting, we are increasingly interested in the opportunities to leverage events to produce tangible social, cultural or economic benefits for Canadians and their communities. These can take many forms, but we would be particularly interested in activities aligned with broader Government of Canada goals such as: engaging persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, youth and the development of recreational and cultural infrastructure.

PP: Does the ministry support a World Cup bid?

CQ: The Government of Canada would make any decisions around the potential support for a World Cup bid in accordance with the Federal Policy for Hosting International Sport Events. If the Canadian Soccer Association were proposing to bid, the federal government would need to understand the scope, cost and potential impact on Essential Federal Services of a FIFA Men’s World Cup prior to committing any federal resources towards the event.


PP: Has there been any discussion with the Canadian Soccer Association about the bid in the last few months?

CQ:We have ongoing dialogue with the CSA about the development of the sport in Canada, support for our athletes and potential hosting implications. Discussions with the CSA have been fact finding in nature regarding FIFA’s World Cup bid process, expectations, requirements and timelines. The CSA is aware of the Government of Canada’s Federal Hosting Policy requirements, having received funding support for the U-20 Women’s World Cup 2014 and the Women’s World Cup 2015.

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