Torontonians will have to travel to Ottawa or another province to watch the 2015 soccer Women’s World Cup. Toronto was not among the cities named last Friday to host the quadrennial tournament when the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) made the announcement. The World Cup clashes with the Pan American Games to be held in Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe region.
The seventh edition will take place in Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, attended last week’s announcement in Ottawa.
“Canada 2015 has already made history as this will be the first FIFA Women’s World Cup in which 24 national teams will participate,” he said. “Women’s soccer is continuing to mature and I am really pleased that soccer fans in cities across the country – from east to west – will have the opportunity to take part. The host cities play a crucial role in delivering a FIFA competition and I am sure that seeing world-class soccer players across Canada will inspire a whole new generation of girls and women to get involved in the game.”
Canada previously hosted the inaugural Women’s Under-20 World Cup a decade ago as well as the Under-17 boys World Cup in 1987 and the Men’s Under-20 World Cup five years ago.
The national Under-17 girls’ team, meanwhile, has qualified for the semi-finals of the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Under-17 competition after scoring 16 goals and conceding just one in the first round of the competition.
In the regional qualifying tournament in Guatemala, Canada finished on top of its group after shutting out Panama 6-0 and Jamaica 4-0 and defeating the host country 6-1. The semi-finals take place tonight while the final is on Saturday.
Three of the qualifiers will advance to the 16-team FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan from September 22 to October 13.
And, Nelspruit, Rustenburg, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg are the host cities for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Johannesburg, which hosted the 2010 World Cup final, will be the venue for the opening match and the final. South Africa’s sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, said that proximity was taken into consideration during the selection process.
“Rather than using the whole of the republic, we have reduced to a total number of about four, five stadiums so that they are close to each other,” said Mbalula.
The South African government will help the host cities cover some of their costs.
“On relieving the financial burden for host cities, there’s a joint task team which will meet with the host cities individually to allay their fears,” he said. “I don’t want to speculate on what the budget would be, but I can guarantee that the government and other private sectors will come to the party and we will pursue negotiations with the Confederation of African Soccer to make sure local private sector companies come on board as sponsors.”
By RON FANFAIR