Vancouver Whitecaps’ Captain, Kendall Waston is expecting to represent his native Costa Rica at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in June (via @kwaston88/Twitter)

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

Top Canadian soccer officials were at Saturday’s Champions League final in Kyiv, mixing business with pleasure as they pressed their case for the so-called unified 2026 World Cup bid.

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are up against Morocco to host soccer’s biggest showcase with a June 13 vote looming.

The Canadian Soccer Association contingent included president Steven Reed, general secretary and Canada bid director Peter Montopoli and former president Victor Montagliani, who doubles as CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president.

The 211 FIFA member associations, minus the bidding countries and any suspended nations, will decide on the host at a vote at the FIFA Congress next month in Moscow.

The Canadians, along with their U.S. and Mexican counterparts, made a presentation to Baltic nations prior to Saturday’s game. They had previously met with other European soccer officials in Ukraine for the Liverpool-Real Madrid showdown at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium.

Montagliani said there would be more talks at the stadium — before and after but not during the game.

“That’s the good thing about it. Once the game kicks off, everybody watches,” Montagliani said Saturday prior to kickoff. ”Football is football and everybody here is a football person. Once the whistle blows, everybody’s going to be focusing on the pitch. So we’ll get to enjoy the game.

“But in between that, there’s a lot of sort of shaking hands and taking about the bid. We’ll be doing that right up until June 13.”

WORLD CUP: Sun never sets in a St. Petersburg summer

The Canadians have been piling up the frequent-flyer miles in their bid to leave no stone unturned in their sales job.

Reed has been to at least a dozen countries the last two weeks, with the CSA reluctant to make public his full itinerary so as to not tip off Morocco of its strategy.

There was a stop in Istanbul this week with Reed meeting up with Canadian captain Atiba Hutchinson, who plays his club soccer for Besiktas in the Turkish capital.

FIFA reforms have opened up the World Cup voting process, which in the past only involved the 24-person FIFA executive committee. The expanded 2026 tournament will feature 48 countries and 80 games.

The current unified bid blueprint calls for 60 games to be staged in the U.S. with Canada and Mexico splitting the remaining 20.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Four Tofino businesses up for Vancouver Island Excellence Awards

Tofino’s business community is shining with four Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards… Continue reading

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Fireworks ignite ire in Ucluelet

“What does it take to actually have your bylaws enforced?”

Ucluelet RCMP urge residents to report suspicious activity to police, not just Facebook

“I definitely would advise people to lock their doors.”

Tofino and Ucluelet’s best sports stories of 2018

The West Coast’s athletes filled 2018 with flair, personal achievements and competitive success.

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external watchdog

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read