14 JUN 2018: FIFA member associations gathering in Moscow on Wednesday voted in favour of the joint North American bid by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup. Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton are Canadian candidate host cities for the men's soccer showcase, which will be expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament.

FIFA will make the final decision on locations in 2020.

The chance to co-host the 2026 World Cup represents a “once in a generation opportunity” for Toronto, the city's mayor said Wednesday after soccer's international governing body voted in favour of a joint bid for the event by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

John Tory acknowledged that Canada had little chance of hosting the global soccer tournament on its own, but will now be among those reaping the benefits of the massive event.

“I'm thrilled at the fact that we're going to get some games,” he told reporters after the North American bid was given the green light.

“I think the people of Toronto, because of the keen interest and love they have for the game of soccer, will be absolutely behind this 100 percent and understand that this is a good investment for tourism, a good investment for sports, a good investment to put Toronto on the map.”

Tory said $30 million or more would be spent on the event, not including security expenses, but noted that the cost will be shared between governments. He added that he expects investment in the event to generate “substantial” returns, but did not offer a specific estimate.

Earlier in the day, Montreal mayor Valerie Plante retweeted a video of the bid team's jubilant reaction to the news.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also used social media to extend his support for the winning bid.

“Good news this morning: The 2026 FIFA World Cup is coming to Canada, the US and Mexico,” read a tweet on his official account. “Congratulations to everyone who worked hard on this bid, it's going to be a great tournament!”

Bill Manning, president of Toronto FC, said he expects to see several games unfold in the city, including matches played during the 32-team and 16-team elimination rounds.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says it's exciting that North America has won the bid to host the 2026 World Cup, but he says the work is now just beginning.

He said that the federal government has already offered to help

Edmonton cover the $30 million cost, but he says the province now needs to step up.

Ricardo Miranda, Alberta's tourism minister, says they have received the initial funding proposal from the city, but need more details and cost breakdowns before moving forward.

Miranda says while the provincial economy is rebounding, Albertans still expect their money to be spent in a responsible way.

Iveson says Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium is the centre piece of the bid, hosting previous tournaments like the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

The stadium would need some changes, including putting in grass, adding a second large video screen and expanding media facilities.

“We still have a great shot though there's still more work to do to get to the finish line,” Iveson said Wednesday.

“Overall we scored solidly in the bid and we know we have the best stadium in the country to host soccer.”

City officials say some of the work on the stadium would have to be done anyway as the current video screen and turf would be in need of replacement by then.

Canada failed in its lone previous bid to host the 1986 tournament after Colombia pulled out. That remains the only World Cup the Canadian men have ever qualified for.

Mexico has twice hosted the World Cup, in 1970 and 1986. The US hosted in 1994.


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