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Federal government will give Toronto $104 million to help host 2026 World Cup games

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The Canadian Press







Published Friday, May 3, 2024 6:33AM EDT






Last Updated Friday, May 3, 2024 9:59AM EDT

The federal government will provide Toronto just over $104 million in funding to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

This is the first time Ottawa has provided a firm dollar-figure for the games following the successful global bid.

“Toronto will set an impressive stage to Canada as host of this international tournament,” Carla Qualtrough, Federal Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, said on Friday.

“This contribution will support the operational and capital expenses of these matches.”

Toronto is set to host six FIFA World Cup games, while the rest of the tournament will be held in Vancouver, as well as cities in the U.S., and Mexico.

The federal government has already committed about $116 million to help fund the Vancouver matches, for an overall investment of $220 million.

Qualtrough said the funding, which is less than the possible 35 per cent the federal government could have contributed for an event of this size, was based on submissions surrounding operational and capital costs.

“The structure of this, how this event is organized, is unique to this event,” she said. “FIFA’s portion, the City of Toronto’s portion, Ontario’s portion, so it was a slightly different calculation.”

When asked if the funding could change if costs continue to increase, Qualtrough said there would be an open conversation with the city about their needs. However, she also said the “expectation is we all stay squarely within these investments.”

A Toronto report released earlier this year suggested the pricetag of hosting the World Cup would be roughly $380 million, about $80 million more than the original estimate two years ago.

The change has been attributed to inflationary price estimates, vendor quotes and safety requirements.

Ontario has said it would be contributing $97 million in one-time funding, leaving the city to pay the remaining $180 million.

“We signed the bid,” Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said of the cost. “We believe we will be able to raise the funds and contain the cost so that’s why we are moving forward with excitement.”

About a third of the overall cost is for security and policing, the mayor told reporters.

“And then there are capital costs. For example, the stadium is going to have a lot more seats because that’s the FIFA requirements,” Chow said, noting that other related activities such as a fan fest are also included in the pricetag.

Chow has said she hopes to do some fundraising to alleviate the cost.

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