Canada plans bid to host 2026 World Cup

The Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) -- The Canadian Soccer Association plans to bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

This year's tournament will be in Brazil, followed by Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said future World Cup hosts will be decided by all FIFA members, not just the executive committee.

''We're the only G-8 nation to not host the World Cup,'' CSA president Victor Montagliani said Thursday. ''We've hosted almost every other event. ... I think it's time for Canada to step up to the plate.''

Canada has hosted FIFA youth tournaments and will stage next year's Women's World Cup.

The North and Central American and Caribbean has not hosted soccer's top event since the 1994 tournament in the U.S.

Canada made its only World Cup appearance in 1986 and is ranked 111th in the world, between Bahrain and Guatemala.

Montagliani cited the growth in U.S. soccer sparked by the 1994 tournament.

''When they bid for the World Cup, I wouldn't say the game was in a healthy state in the U.S. both professionally and domestically,'' he said. ''Their leadership group decided to put a bid together, and I think that was a bit of a lightning rod for people to come together.''

A World Cup bid would require eight to 12 stadiums with 10 the optimum, according to CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli. Capacities would have to be 40,000 or higher.

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