Feds throw sup­port be­hind World Cup bid

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - Sports -

The fed­eral govern­ment of­fi­cially threw its sup­port be­hind the North Amer­i­can bid for the 2026 World Cup on Tues­day, with the prom­ise of up to $5 mil­lion in im­me­di­ate help should the uni­fied bid win.

Canada, Mex­ico and the U.S. are up against Morocco to host the men’s soc­cer show­case. Their bid books go to FIFA at the end of the week with a de­ci­sion to be made June 13 at the FIFA congress.

Tues­day’s an­nounce­ment at BMO Field was the lat­est in a string of news events de­signed to show the bid is on track. Toronto, Van­cou­ver, Mon­treal and Ed­mon­ton, iden­ti­fied as po­ten­tial Cana­dian can­di­date cities, have al­ready en­dorsed the bid.

The feds joined them Tues­day.

“It’s good for our ath­letes, it’s good for our com­mu­ni­ties, our econ­omy, our rep­u­ta­tion as an in­ter­na­tional sport leader,” said Kirsty Dun­can, min­is­ter of science and min­is­ter of sport and per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. “We are be­hind this bid.”

She said Ot­tawa will com­mit up to $5 mil­lion go­ing for­ward should the bid win. Peter Mon­topoli, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Cana­dian Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion, said that money would be used dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod from when the bid is awarded to when FIFA es­sen­tially takes over run­ning the tour­na­ment.

The fed­eral govern­ment will also help with es­sen­tial ser­vices such as se­cu­rity and bor­der con­trol as it did dur­ing the Women’s World Cup in 2015.

The uni­fied bid plan calls for 10 matches in each of Canada and Mex­ico with 60 of the 80 games in the new ex­panded 48-team tour­na­ment for­mat to be held in the U.S.

The new com­pe­ti­tion for­mat will fea­ture 16 groups of three with the top two from each pool ad­vanc­ing to a 32-team knock­out. The tour­na­ment time pe­riod will re­main at 32 days.

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