Exhibition Place Stadium Proposal Approved

Ottawa, Ontario – The Canadian Soccer Association and its partners – Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), the Ontario and Federal Governments as well as the City of Toronto – have been given the approval of Toronto City’s Council to construct a 20,000 seat soccer-specific stadium on the grounds of Exhibition Place.
City council voted 25 to 13 in favour of the stadium project.
“I applaud the council for acting in the best interest of the City of Toronto, for a wide variety of community groups and all Torontonians in general. The stadium and its construction will create jobs, drive economic development and tourism, and create a larger stage for Toronto to hold international sports and entertainment events. It will also support further growth for soccer in Canada,” said Richard Peddie, President of MLSE.

Ottawa, Ontario – The Canadian Soccer Association and its partners – Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), the Ontario and Federal Governments as well as the City of Toronto – have been given the approval of Toronto City’s Council to construct a 20,000 seat soccer-specific stadium on the grounds of Exhibition Place.
City council voted 25 to 13 in favour of the stadium project.
“I applaud the council for acting in the best interest of the City of Toronto, for a wide variety of community groups and all Torontonians in general. The stadium and its construction will create jobs, drive economic development and tourism, and create a larger stage for Toronto to hold international sports and entertainment events. It will also support further growth for soccer in Canada,” said Richard Peddie, President of MLSE.
“We look forward to working with the three levels of government as we prepare for construction of the stadium in early 2006 and while we finalize our franchise agreement with Major League Soccer.”
The $62.8-million stadium is being built specifically for the staging of the FIFA World Youth Championship – Canada 2007 that will kickoff in July 2007 in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria and will be the largest single-sport event ever held in Canada.
The biennial event is second only to the FIFA World Cup™ in size and scope and will showcase the most talented under-20 soccer players in the world. The tournament has been the coming-out party for some of the game’s top players – Maradona, Saviola, Raúl, Marco Van Basten, Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Thierry Henry, Adriano, Roberto Carlos, Bebeto and Dunga as well as Canada’s Craig Forrest and many members of the current Men’s World Cup Team including Julian de Guzman, Paul Stalteri, Atiba Hutchinson and Iain Hume.
The facility will also be a regular home for both the Men’s and Women’s National Teams as well as a home for thousands of players in the Greater Toronto Area. The City of Toronto-owned stadium will have an air-filled bubble erected over the playing surface during the winter months, guaranteeing a minimum of 100 days of community usage throughout the year.
The city council vote now paves the way for the stadium be the home of Toronto’s newest professional sports franchise.
Major League Soccer (MLS) Commissioner Don Garber announced on October 11, 2005 that Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment had been granted the exclusive rights through October 31, 2005 to negotiate an agreement to acquire the rights to a Major League Soccer expansion team that will commence play in Toronto in 2007.
“Toronto would be an excellent addition to Major League Soccer under the leadership of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, one of the preeminent sports and entertainment companies in the world,” Commissioner Garber said. “We are enthusiastic about bringing an MLS team to Toronto and are prepared to host the 2008 All-Star Game and an MLS Cup in Toronto by 2012.”
Funding for the project will be come from a number of sources.
The Federal Government, through Infrastructure Canada, has agreed to contribute $27-million while the Ontario Government has committed a further $8-million.
MLSE has agreed to pay a total of $18-million ($8-million toward the construction and a further $10-million to secure the naming rights for the stadium). The group has also agreed to provide a $2-million guarantee against operational losses.
The City of Toronto will contribute $9.8-million and will own the stadium. In the agreement struck with the City of Toronto, Exhibition Place, the CSA, and MLSE in mid-October, the sports and entertainment company would be responsible for the management of the facility.

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