June 13, 2018 11:55 am
Updated: June 13, 2018 12:51 pm

Toronto mayor John Tory says 2026 World Cup a ‘good investment’

Mayor John Tory says the "modest" cost to stage several games of the World Cup in Toronto will be distributed between three levels of government and is a small price to pay to bring worldwide attention to the city.

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TORONTO — 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.

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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 per cent and understand that this is a good investment for tourism, a good investment for sports, a good investment to put Toronto on the map.”

READ MORE: How Edmonton stacks up against the other United 2026 World Cup bid cities

Tory said $30 million or more will 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.

“It really is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Tory said.

Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton are Canadian candidate host cities for the men’s soccer showcase, expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament. FIFA will select up to 16 host cities from the 23 candidates proposed in the North American bid.

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.

READ MORE: Canada, U.S. and Mexico will host 2026 FIFA World Cup

Prior to the vote, Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association and Canada’s bid director, called the vote a “watershed moment” and a “game-changer.”

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 U.S. hosted in 1994.

 

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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