Canada Soccer

CSA Releases Details On Proposed National Soccer Stadium

Posted on 21 July 2003 in Canadian Soccer Association

Toronto, Ontario – At a media conference held at the National Trade Centre at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, The Canadian Soccer Association today unveiled its plans for a new 30,000-seat, $82 million stadium complete with a FIFA Recommended artificial grass playing surface designed to ideally suit international soccer while being compatible for CFL football as well as rugby, lacrosse and other field sports. The proposed location would be at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.

This morning, CSA has, in support of the project, submitted a complete and detailed application for financial contribution to the Government of Ontario. CSA President Andy Sharpe accompanied by FIFA Vice President Jack Warner met this morning with senior officials of the Government of Ontario and submitted a complete dossier of information related directly to this application of support. It is via the Government of Ontario as well as the Government of Canada that CSA is seeking $62.5 million in total public financial support for the project (shared equally between the provincial and federal governments).

“We are grateful to FIFA for supporting the high quality work which has occurred over the past eleven months by virtue of their financial commitment” stated CSA President Andy Sharpe. “We have stated that this project is of the utmost importance to the future of Canadian Soccer, to Canadian Sport in general and we now will shift our efforts towards convincing the public that this project must move forward now, particularly with the amount of work completed.”

FIFA Vice President Jack Warner was also in praise of the project. “With the momentum generated from this wonderful dossier of material, it is now critical that the stadium project keep moving forward and that it ultimately succeed, for the good of Canadian Soccer and for the good of our sport in this Confederation. With well over 800,000 young Canadians playing soccer and almost half of this number within a 2 hour drive of downtown Toronto, the time has arrived for this City to finally develop a proper soccer/sport facility where the world's best male and female players can compete at the highest levels.”

“I am also pleased to announce that with my full support, The Canadian Soccer Association has applied to host the FIFA Men's U-20 World Youth Championship in 2007, with this proposed stadium being one of the most important sites for the event,” continued Warner. “This 24 nation 3 week tournament is the second largest Championship FIFA stages and I am pleased that the initial response from FIFA President Blatter to the Canadian bid has been enthusiastic. I also hope that FIFA will accept an offer from CSA to host the 2007 annual FIFA Congress in Toronto as well, with 204 member nations expected to attend.”

Design plans for the stadium were completed by Stadium Consultants International, a division of Brisbin Brook Beynon, Architects, and features many unique aspects to it, including themed zones to allow for maximum enjoyment of the facility by the different user groups expected to frequent the stadium. Providing premium covered seating on the west side for 10,000 fans, the stadium is an open air facility – something that is unavailable in the Greater Toronto area. As such it complements SkyDome as a mid range, outdoor facility catering to the needs of various sports not usually seen within the dome.

Intimacy was the primary factor in the design phase of the stadium and with spectators only 6 metres from the playing surface, this has been achieved by the architects over the past 8 months of design development. The built-in capabilities for the stadium to ultimately expand up to 70,000 seats has also been achieved should ever the need for this to occur, for such events as the FIFA World Cup, the Grey Cup or for other sporting spectacles.

The stadium playing surface will feature a FIFA Recommended third generation artificial grass product of the highest standard. The only major stadium facility in Canada which currently has this designation is Ottawa's Frank Clair Stadium with FieldTurf which has now hosted two national women's team matches in 2003 since receiving this approval from FIFA earlier this year. Usage of this artificial grass in the stadium will allow for extensive training and multiple events to be staged from late March through to the end of November.

The stadium has been designed so that it perfectly meets the playing requirements of international soccer but of other rectilinear sports as well, including CFL football, rugby and lacrosse. It will seat just over 30,000 for soccer and almost 28,000 for CFL football (allowing for removable end zone seating to accommodate the longer CFL field). The stadium, due to the efficiency of its design and artificial grass surface, will be ideal for multiple forms of community use including all levels of soccer from youth events up to and including the professional level of the sport. In addition, major inter-university sports events could easily be staged at this facility while the same could be said for national/international level rugby. It is the intent to make this facility an affordable one to use so that many sport and community groups can take advantage of the stadium.

A financial and market impact assessment of the project was completed by Deloitte & Touche. Based on that analysis, the operations of the Stadium would be sustainable. In addition, the study identified that the construction of the Stadium could generate some $121 million in both direct and indirect spending and 750 jobs. Once operational, it is estimated to generate almost $7.0 million of annual spending and create about 90 jobs. The Stadium is also expected to stimulate local tourism when it hosts high profile international events and exhibitions.

The cost of all the work to date, totaling close to $600,000 has been supported by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and its overall GOAL development Program. FIFA, the international governing body for world soccer with 204 member nations and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, responded positively to a funding request by CSA in support of this stadium project last fall. Since then, CSA has been at work intensively with today's announcement representing the culmination of this phase of the stadium project. With IMG Solutions retained as project manager and IMG Canada providing overall guidance and support, all necessary design work as well economic feasibility and impact studies have been fully completed and submitted to the Government of Ontario as part of CSA's overall application for support.

Initial meetings have been held with the City of Toronto, knowing full well that any final decision to be taken on this project must in fact be that of City Council. As well, meetings have occurred with Exhibition Place, the Government of Ontario and others.

Today's announcement by CSA completes this initial phase of research and development. The focus will now shift to detailed meetings with potential stakeholders including all three levels of Government, as well as Exhibition Place.

For more information please contact:
Morgan Quarry (613) 237-7678 ext.: 230 or media@soccercan.ca
Richard Ivan (613) 237-7678 ext.: 242 or rivan@soccercan.ca
Visit our web site at www.canadasoccer.com

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