EDMONTON — So how did Canada get the Women’s World Cup?
With FIFA reeling from corruption allegations surrounding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 men’s tournaments (Russia and Qatar won, respectively), Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani was asked straight out at Thursday’s opening news conference of the Women’s World Cup whether Canada had paid bribes to win the right to host the tournament.
“Absolutely not,” he relied.
Seven countries originally expressed interest in hosting this Women’s World Cup but only Canada was left standing by the time the winning country was announced in March 2011.
Canada was runner-up to Germany to stage the 2011 women’s tournament, so it was likely in FIFA’s on-deck circle.
“Why have we chosen Canada? Well Canada has already done a great job for women’s football,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter, speaking in French, said in Zurich in announcing the 2015 tournament host.
“They’ve proven that they’re great organizers and that the women’s football, certainly, has a future in your country.”
Zimbabwe, the last rival bidder for the 2015 tournament, dropped out the week the host country was announced. At the time, CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli said he believed that other interested countries elected to focus on other FIFA tournaments up for grabs.
“We were the first to put in our candidacy for the (2015) Women’s World Cup,” he said back then. “Everybody knew it was our second time (bidding) and we were very serious.”
Canada was one of seven countries to get good news from FIFA on that day in 2011 as the world governing body of soccer awarded a variety of tournaments.
Chile, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan were rewarded with competitions ranging from the women’s U-20 World Cup in 2012 (Uzbekistan) to the men’s U-20 in 2015 (New Zealand).
Zimbabwe did not help its FIFA cause. Earlier this year it was expelled from 2018 men’s World Cup qualifying for failing to pay former coach Jose Claudinei Georgini.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press