Though the spotlight is on Canada qualifying to play in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar come November, Edmonton has its eyes set on the 2026 World Cup.
According to Terry Jones of The Edmonton Sun, the City of Edmonton will make a bid to be a host city during the joint Canada-United States-Mexico World Cup in 2026 and the Alberta Provincial Government plans to help them in this endeavour.
Canada defeated Jamaica by a score of 4-0 at BMO Field in Toronto on Sunday, which officially punched the team’s ticket to Qatar. It’s the first time that Canada has qualified to play in a FIFA World Cup since 1986.
Two of Canada’s wins en route to qualifying came in Edmonton back in November. On November 12, 48,806 fans showed up to Commonwealth Stadium to watch Canada defeat Cosa Rica, and then, a few days later, 44,212 braved the cold and came to what is now known as “Iceteca” to watch Canada beat Mexico in a World Cup qualifier for the first time since 1976.
Colin Smith, FIFA’s chief competitions and events officer, was in Edmonton to witness those games against Costa Rica and Mexico. He praised the fan support and the experience but said that the facility will need to ditch the artificial turf in favour of actual grass…
“The air was chilly. The atmosphere was warm,” Smith said.
“To see the fans’ support on what was a chilly evening was great to see.”
When asked about how Edmonton could fix the turf issue, Smith was blunt.
“Change it,” he said, “We play the World Cup obviously on natural grass. It’s about providing the ultimate stage to the ultimate players to play at the highest level.”
The joint 2026 World Cup will feature 60 matches including the quarterfinals, the semifinals, and the final, played in the United States, while Canada and Mexico will each get 10 games. It seems most likely that we’ll see two Canadian cities as hosts, with both getting five games each.