Cathal Kelly, columnist, says Edmonton hosting World Cup is a 'mistake'
'The real victim here is Toronto,' says sports columnist after city not chosen to host soccer tournament
A Toronto sports columnist has rankled some Edmonton fans after publishing a rant slamming the Alberta city for hosting the Women's World Cup.
He calls Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium "actively ugly," comparing it to a high school field complete with "bush league" track.
He also disparages the city's apparent enthusiasm for hosting the soccer event, noting that tickets have not yet sold out.
- Kelly: Kicking off the World Cup anywhere but Toronto is a mistake
- No one else wanted Women's World Cup, says Canada Soccer president
His message is clear: The World Cup should be in Toronto.
"The world is going to tune in on Saturday expecting Toronto because that's the city that matters. It may hurt to hear it, but it doesn't make it less true," he wrote.
"Edmonton, God love you. In some ways you are the romantic home of soccer in Canada. But when the whole country has to stand up in front of the rest of the world, you can't be the first one talking. We just need you to stand there quietly, looking supportive."
It's clear Kelly knew his comments would trigger a social media firestorm:
I wrote about Edmonton for tmrw. Two separate editors have now written to warn I will have to flee the city after it's published. Wheeee!—@cathalkelly
Edmonton's mayor himself took to Twitter on Thursday night to respond:
It's either self-deprecating satire or a case of newfound T.O. insecurity. It's hard to tell. Either way, who cares? <a href="https://t.co/ubemMYCscg">https://t.co/ubemMYCscg</a>—@doniveson
Iveson was not the only Edmontonian annoyed with Cathal's apparent dismissal of the western capital city.
A guy from Toronto doesn't like Edmonton. Wow. I am shocked, shocked I say! A real hot take. Totally not something we've heard before. Nope.—@britl
So that's what Ralph Klein meant when he talked about eastern bums and creeps... Love you too, Cathal... <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wink?src=hash">#wink</a> <a href="https://t.co/Ni7hKncbX6">https://t.co/Ni7hKncbX6</a>—@LukaszukMLA
This may be the most Toronto-center-of-the-universiest column that has ever been written. <a href="http://t.co/Vv3ei4IVQ5">http://t.co/Vv3ei4IVQ5</a> Well done, <a href="https://twitter.com/cathalkelly">@cathalkelly</a>.—@andrew_leach
Kelly, who is clearly keeping an eye on the public's response to his column, continued to tweet Thursday night from Edmonton, joking that he should put on a disguise and lie about where he's from.
Edmonton is taking this pretty well.—@cathalkelly
Can anyone sell me an Eskimos jersey and a fake moustache?—@cathalkelly
Meanwhile others, including radio personality Dan Tencer, are simply counselling Edmontonians to ignore Cathal.
Edmonton: you can react to Cathal Kelly, but know he'll be smirking at you. It's what he wants, like every time a Canucks fan reacted to me.—@dantencer