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‘We can hardly wait’: Excitement after United 2026 World Cup bid wins
FIFA announced Wednesday that the united North America bid to host the 2026 World Cup had been successful, and some in the only candidate city in western Canada were quick to express their excitement.
FIFA’s member associations voted 134 to 65 in favour of the joint bid by Canada, the United States and Mexico, over the bid from Morocco.
The current blueprint for the event has Canada and Mexico hosting 10 games each, with the U.S. hosting 60 – and a total of 23 candidate cities in the three host countries could be chosen to host games. FIFA will select up to 16 cities from the list included in the bid.
Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal are the only Canadian cities on the list.
Sophie Schmidt, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist who played at Commonwealth Stadium in 2015 for Team Canada, is excited the united bid was selected.
“Soccer is such an important sport in Canada, now we have the World Cup coming to our doorstep, it’s just amazing,” Schmidt said in an interview with CTV News Wednesday. “The support it’s going to get, the dreams it’s going to inspire, it’s going to be incredible.”
In Edmonton, the Vimy Ridge Academy celebrated the bid winning by posting a photo on Twitter, with Schmidt, saying “we can hardly wait.”
Mayor Don Iveson posted a tweet Wednesday morning following the news.
“So that’s a huge opportunity, it comes at a cost,” Iveson said. “The feds are there, the city has said, ‘Why wouldn’t we want to go after this?’ and we just need to work with the province to find a way to make this successful for everybody.”
Its estimated hosting matches in Edmonton would cost an estimated $30 million to $50 million.
FIFA has expressed concerns over Edmonton’s airport volume, transportation and the amount of top-tier hotel rooms.
As for potential drawbacks for the city, Iveson said new development would add to the number of high-end hotel rooms in the city.
“We’ve always known we’re a little light on high end hotel rooms, but with the JW Marriott opening – a beautiful 5-star property that is going to help and that is going to open in the next year or so,” Iveson said.
“There are discussions about other high end properties being built and for sure we’ll have the JW open.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also weighed in.
Good news this morning: The 2026 FIFA World Cup is coming to Canada, the US and Mexico. Congratulations to everyone who worked hard on this bid – it’s going to be a great tournament! #United2026— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 13, 2018
Canada had failed its lone previous bid to host the event in 1986. Mexico has hosted the FIFA World Cup twice (in 1970 and 1986), and the U.S. hosted it in 1994.
FIFA is expected to make a final decision on which cities will host games in 2020 or 2021.
With files from Bill Fortier, Nicole Weisberg and The Associated Press