Canada prepares for its 1st World Cup in 36 years
by Bill O’Brien
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is not taking place until June 11. But FIFA is already working to prepare for the first-ever World Cup in 32 years, the same age as when the tournament was first held in Canada.
FIFA had no plans to hold the tournament until 2013, when it was awarded the rights by the newly inaugurated South American Football Confederation. Canada is the only nation to have hosted the World Cup on its soil.
In the lead up to the tournament FIFA’s Director General Jérôme Valcke met with all six participating federations to inform them of the plans for the tournament, including the use of artificial turf, the addition of 10,000 seats to the stadium and the use of mobile telecommunication equipment.
The use of artificial turf was a major topic in the meeting. FIFA and all FIFA members agree that artificial turf is a better alternative to real grass in most cases. In the last four World Cups a change of the surface used has only resulted in fewer injuries, and more importantly there was a reduction in the number of people with injuries. The FIFA Technical Centre in Zurich is the FIFA body responsible for FIFA’s technical regulations and FIFA is committed to protecting the health of athletes and supporters alike.
The ten stadiums bidding to host this year’s tournament will have approximately 500 artificial turf facilities, two of which will be located at Olympic venues in addition to the stadium hosting the competition.
In addition, FIFA has received commitments from three local television broadcasters, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and Sportsnet, with the goal of having an extensive Canadian broadcast schedule planned. The three cable television companies, Rogers Communications, Shaw Cable and Bell Media have committed to supplying the TV network and the broadcaster from the start.
The stadium was originally scheduled to be renovated in 2004, but in March 2006, FIFA asked the Canadian Football Commissioner to postpone the stadium renovation until after the World Cup. A public forum was held during the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2007, where Canadian Soccer Association president John Zawaski attended for a tour of the stadium and met with FIFA officials