— Published 29 January 2021

Montreal close to withdrawal

A blow to Montreal’s candidacy to host the World Cup football matches in 2026. According to La Presse, the Quebec government has decided not to financially support the project. A decision which “endangers the Montreal candidacy – the only French-speaking city in the running”, commented the office of the mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante, Thursday, January 28th. La Presse quotes an anonymous source within the government, according to which this refusal by the Quebec authorities is justified by a desire to promote the relaunch of major events, such as festivals, after the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial contribution of the Government of Quebec should have reached 103.4 million Canadian dollars (approximately 66 million euros). The city of Montreal will now study the legal, economic and sporting implications of such a withdrawal, then analyse its various options. No fewer than 23 cities are candidates to host the 2026 World Cup matches in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto on the Canadian side. FIFA unveiled the schedule for the selection process this week. It should normally result in a list of 16 host cities by the end of 2021.