New stadium for Argos, Canadian soccer

The Toronto Argonauts will be moving uptown by 2006.

The Argonauts will share an $80-million, 25 000-seat outdoor stadium and sports complex with the Canadian Soccer Association several blocks north of SkyDome, where Varsity Stadium once stood.

The federal government announced Friday a partnership with Toronto community, athletic and sports leaders to rebuild the historic Varsity Stadium site.

The federal government is committing $27 million to the venture with the Ontario provincial government chipping in $8 million. The Argonauts have agreed to pay the annual $2.1 million cost of debt servicing.

The new facility will be owned by the University of Toronto, which will contribute $45 million to its construction and mortgage. The university will finance $30 million, with another $15 million coming from donors.

Aside from serving as the new home of the Argonauts beginning in 2006, the new Varsity Stadium is expected to be the main part of the CSA's bid to host the 2007 FIFA Men's Under-20 World Youth Championship.

The new stadium will also act as the new home for Canada's various national soccer teams.

The government support, however, is contingent on the CSA winning the right to host the FIFA tournament, which will be awarded in October 2004.

"The government is very excited about competing to host the FIFA under-20s", said Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Joe Volpe.

"This will truly be a resource for the whole community," added Volpe. "People from every community in every part of our diverse city will welcome the chance to enjoy watching great players - including family and friends - play the world's favorite game in the heart of Toronto."

The former Varsity Stadium, built in 1924, was demolished in 2002 for safety reasons.

with files from CP Online