Soccer

Final touches being placed on Canada's unified bid as 2026 World Cup vote nears

Montopoli's visit is further proof that the unified bid to leaving no stone unturned in its bid to beat out Morocco in the race to host world soccer's biggest showcase.

Presentations and note to take place in Moscow on June 13, Morocco the only other bidder

Bidding countries will make their final presentations for the 2026 World Cup on June 13 in Moscow, with the vote to follow. (Pavel Golovkin/The Associated Press)

Peter Montopoli, Canada's point man on the so-called unified bid to host the 2026 World Cup, has one more stop to make before flying to Moscow on Saturday for next week's FIFA Congress.

He heads to Gibraltar on Friday to talk up the Canadian, Mexican and U.S. joint bid.

Gibraltar covers 6.5 square kilometres with a population of some 30,000. Its soccer team is ranked 195th in the world by FIFA.

But its vote carries the same weight as that of Russia or China.

Montopoli's visit is further proof that the unified bid to leaving no stone unturned in its bid to beat out Morocco in the race to host world soccer's biggest showcase.

'It's been a long 6 weeks'

"It's been a long six weeks," Montopoli, speaking Thursday from London, said of his world travels on behalf of the bid. "I look forward to finishing that off [Friday]."

He does not have a running record of how many countries he visited on this final push.

"As an example, just flying on Monday, I was in five countries," he said. "Doesn't mean I made five presentations. It's that kind of experience where it's planes, trains and automobiles."

Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, isn't the only one accumulating frequent flyer miles. CSA president Steven Reed and chief marketing officer Sandra Gage have been visiting member associations, as have U.S. and Mexican soccer officials.

Final touches

Montopoli was in London helping put the final touches on the unified bid's final presentation, which will take place June 13 in Moscow just before the vote.

FIFA has 211 member associations. The bidding countries and any suspended associations cannot vote.

Lobbying will continue right up until the votes are cast.

The unified bid, which got higher ratings than Morocco in the recent FIFA bid evaluation, calls for 60 games to be staged in the U.S. with 10 each in Canada and Mexico.

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