Success of women's tournaments has CSA considering bidding for World Cup

VANCOUVER – After successfully hosting two major women’s soccer tournaments over the last couple of years, the Canadian Soccer Association is now giving serious consideration to bidding for the next FIFA World Cup.

“I think our next project as a country, and as a soccer country, would be the men’s World Cup,” Victor Montagliani, the CSA’s president, told a news conference Thursday.

“We have hosted every other World Cup. We have been successful at every other one we have hosted. I think it’s a natural progression for us to seriously look at bidding for the men’s World Cup.”

The CSA released figures Thursday showing the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup created a combined $493.6 million in economic activity. That exceeded the preliminary projections of $337 million made in February 2014.

The cost for the two tournaments was $216 million. They generated $249 million in net economic activity with $97.6 million in tax revenues, the association said.

Montagliani couldn’t immediately say how much economic activity the tournaments generated individually.

“Rest assured the bulk of those numbers are reflected in the 2015 tournament,” he said. “From a budgeting standpoint we always treated it as one project. That’s the way FIFA likes to treat these things.”

This year’s women’s World Cup was held between June 6 and July 5. The 24-team tournament played games in venues at Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton, N.B.

A crowd of 53,341 watched the U.S. defeat Japan 5-2 in the final at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. Overall the tournament’s 52 games attracted 1,353,506 fans for an average attendance of 26,029.

The CSA says more than 84,000 visitors made one or more day trips while 174,000 visitors made an overnight visit to one of the host cities. A total of 96,000 American fans crossed the border.

The U-20 Women’s World Cup was held Aug. 5 to Aug. 24 in Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Moncton.

In the past Canada has hosted the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup and the 2007 U-20 Men’s World Cup.

The 2018 World Cup is scheduled for Russia and the 2022 competition in Qatar.

Montagliani said it’s expected the 2026 World Cup would be awarded to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF), of which Canada is a member.

“It’s kind of expected it should come this way,” he said. “They usually award World Cups an average of eight years before.”

FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, has been rocked by a serious of scandals, resulting in president Sepp Platter resigning.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating alleged financial irregularities around the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. This has delayed the bidding process for the 2026 event.

Besides Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Colombia could be interested in hosting the competition.

“We need to know what the bid process is and . . . the logistics of it from what FIFA expects,” said Montagliani. “There is a few changes going on at FIFA. We need to see how these changes play out and what the terms and conditions of bidding are.

“All things being equal, I think we will have a serious look at it. Again, we will have to wait and see what the landscape is like.”