(Aug 16) EDMONTON (CP) - Canada could have a shot at 2014 World Cup of soccer if it teamed up with the United States to co-host the event, CONCACAF president Jack Warner said Friday.
"Based on what we've seen, I don't see why we can't have a co-hosting between Canada and the United States or some such combination," said Warner, who was in Edmonton to kick off the inaugural world women's under-19 soccer championship. The CONCACAF federation covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Warner, who is also chairman of the world under-19 championship, said this region of the world is ready to host World Cup.
He noted that the 2006 World Cup is set for Germany and 2010 World Cup is likely to be held in Africa.
The economic climate in South America has likely taken it out of the running for 2010 so that event will likely land in North America - either Canada, United States or Mexico or some combination of the three, he said.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, speaking at the Asian Football Conference annual congress in Kuala Lumpur earlier this week, launched speculation that the World Cup was coming west when he said that after 2010 the tournament might go "somewhere in the Americas."
Japan and South Korea jointly hosted this year's World Cup.
"Canada has already indicated its interest in hosting a future World Cup," said Jim Fleming, Canada's national organizing chairman and former president of the Canadian Soccer Association. "That offer was extended after consultation with the government of Canada. There are ongoing discussions about putting together the blueprint."
Fleming said organizers had been talking to the federal government about submitting a bid for the 2010 event, but will now likely focus on 2014.
"I think given the fact that Mexico had it twice and the United States had it once, it's our turn," he said.
Paul DeVillers, federal secretary of state for sport, confirmed that Ottawa is behind the bid.
"We've been having discussions and we're working on that together," he said.
Fleming said initial discussions involved Canada making a bid for the event on its own, but a joint bid is a possibility.
"If it took a co-hosting type of arrangement, I think we'd be interested in pursuing that," he said.
He said it would be easier logistically than the event staged in Korea and Japan because Canada and the U.S. share a border and the governments and soccer federations have a good working relationship with each other.
Fleming said Canada would need $10 million to host the event and upgrade the country's Canadian Football League stadia to FIFA football standards.
He said Canada would need a minimum of nine facilities to host the event.
Canada's national soccer team has only qualified to compete in the World Cup once. It has yet to score a goal in a World Cup game.
But Warner told reporters that CONCACAF will lobby intensely to boost the number of World Cup berths from the region from three to four in the upcoming tournament - a move that would give Canada a better chance at qualifying for the tournament.
He said he will make that pitch in Madrid, Spain, in December.
"We will ask for four spots as a right because we have demonstrated on the field of play our competence," he explained.
He said CONCACAF teams have improved to the point where the U.S. and Mexico are ranked among the top 10 teams in the world.
"We will ask for four spots and believe me we will fight to the end and give it all we've got because we deserve it."