‘FIFA fever’ good for local Montreal soccer clubs, soccer fans alike
City officials reassured the media Wednesday that Montreal will be ready to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
“We are pretty confident that it is going to be done from now to 2026,” Rosannie Filato executive committee member said.
“We have to remember it’s still eight years from now,” Filato said. “That gives us a lot of time.”
FIFA member federations voted 134-65 in favour of selecting a North American joint bid over Morocco.
Canada, along with Mexico and the United States, will be hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Of the 80 games played between the 48 teams, 10 will be played in Canada for the first time in the country’s history.
Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is slated to be one of the pitches on which the world’s players will be awing audiences.
To fit under FIFA regulations, the stadium will be retrofitted with a retractable roof as well as grass, which the city is pricing at $200 to $300 million.
Filato said the city expects to receive $200 million in profits from hosting a portion of the event.
Lakeshore Soccer Club technical director John Limniatis was, like many, excited to hear the historic announcement. “My initial reaction was, ‘Fantastic, it’s a great thing for our sport, for our image as a country and soccer here.'”
Bringing the world stage to Montreal, Limniatis says, is a great opportunity for young players to go to the stadium and see a World Cup game live.
“All those things are positive to every community and every soccer club,” Limniatis said.
Having the games in Montreal will influence a younger generation to pick up the cleats, “That moment you get a good impression it will allow you to get involved in the sport.”
Impact soccer fan Brian Desousa hopes to get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch the soccer game, but fears the price of admission.
“Hopefully, if i’m lucky — those are really expensive tickets, I mean like really expensive,” Desousa said.
He looks forward to seeing his city transform for the FIFA.”It’s just going to be crazy,” Desousa said. “It’s going to be madness. So much tourism; the streets are going to be filled with soccer fans. It’s going to be nice. ”
Until the World Cup rolls in to town, die-hard soccer fans like Desousa can get their fill watching the 2018 games, which kick off on Thursday.
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