FIFA President Gianni Infantino holds a soccer ball as he speaks during a press conference after the FIFA Council Meeting, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Miami. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

FIFA President Gianni Infantino holds a soccer ball as he speaks during a press conference after the FIFA Council Meeting, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Miami. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Federal government contributes $4.3 million to prepare for 2026 World Cup

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico will serve as co-hosts of the 2026 tournamen

The federal government is providing $4.3 million to help Canada prepare for the 2026 World Cup.

Kirsty Duncan, minister of science and sport, made the announcement Thursday morning at BMO Field. The money goes to the Canadian Soccer Association “from now through 2020.”

READ MORE: No ‘blank cheque’ for hosting World Cup soccer, Horgan says

“Soccer has the power to transform, not only the lives of Canadians but also our communities from coast to coast to coast,” said Duncan. “It’s a sport that we find in almost every Canadian community and it builds friendships that last a lifetime.”

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico will serve as co-hosts of the 2026 tournament.

The current blueprint calls for Canada and Mexico to stage 10 games each, with the U.S. hosting 60.

Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal are Canadian candidate host cities for the men’s soccer showcase, expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament.

FIFA will select up to 16 host cities from the 23 candidates proposed in the North American bid.

At a meeting in Moscow last June, FIFA member associations voted 134-65 in favour of the joint North American bid over a competing bid from Morocco. The united bid forecasts record profits for FIFA of US$11 billion.

In its lone previous bid, Canada failed to get hosting approval for the 1986 tournament after Colombia pulled out. The 1986 tournament, which went to Mexico, remains the only World Cup the Canadian men have ever qualified for.

Canada hosted the Women’s World Cup in 2015.

The Canadian Press

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