No Canada!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:30 PM ET

OTTAWA -- No Canada.

That may or may not be the story tonight with the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 trying to become the first Canadian team since 1994 to get to the Stanley Cup final. But it was definitely the story here last night at a different venue.

With a remarkable 17,242 fans in the stands at Frank Clair Stadium and Canada en route to a 4-0 win over England, CSA president Andy Sharpe whispered the news at the half.

\"I found out a couple hours before game time,\'\' he said. \"We\'re not getting it. Jack Warner called us today and told us it wasn\'t going to go through. \"

We\'re not going to be given a chance to play host to women\'s World Cup games in Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton in September.\'\'

SUGGESTION TO WITHDRAW

Canadian Soccer CEO Kevan Pipe said Warner, the president of CONCACAF, phoned and suggested Canada withdraw the offer to hold three double header group games in Edmonton as part of a relocated women\'s World Cup.

\"Jack called and gave us advice to withdraw,\'\' said Pipe. \"We don\'t officially know whether it is going to go to the U.S.A. or Sweden but all indications are it will go to the U.S.A. Jack said they could still vote with Canada\'s offer on the table but the vote would be 6-1,\'\' Pipe said of the emergency committee of FIFA which was forced to remove the 2003 Women\'s World Cup from China and give China 2007 in exchange due to the SARS epidemic.

Canada, with the event to be centred in Edmonton, was considered a virtual lock to win the 2007 bid until the move was made.

\"Jack went to the wall for us. We decided to take his advice and show some degree of solidarity with FIFA. We e-mailed FIFA just before game time to give them a clean window for their decision.\'\'

Pipe said part of the e-mail was to express an intention to bid for 2011.

\"It boiled down to the issue of co-hosting,\'\' said Pipe.

Sharpe figures it boiled down to the U.S.A. making it quite clear to FIFA behind the scenes that they didn\'t want any part of Canada playing host to its own group.

\"They wanted it to be totally focussed on them,\'\' said Sharpe. \"Canada is a major threat to the U.S.A. in women\'s world soccer and I think they want to make it as difficult as possible for Canada not give us our own home-field advantage.

\"I think the Americans want this event, and all of this event, because the rest of the world is catching up to them and their best players are getting older,\'\' he said of the Mia Hamms and Brandi Chastains.

There\'s something to chew on there as Canada\'s young comers such as Christine Sinclair, Kara Lang and Christine Latham have taken over to such an extent that former superstar Charmaine Hooper might be hard-pressed to stay a starter with this squad come September.

Sinclair didn\'t play here last night due to injury.

Lang, who scored two goals in Lachine, Que., in a 4-0 win over England on Monday, scored another one here last night as did the latest rising star Latham. Veteran Andrea Neil scored the other two.

\"I\'m happy with the result but not the news,\'\' said Canadian coach Even Pellerud when I informed him of what had transpired after the game.

\"It\'s disappointing. We had a great bid. I don\'t think it\'s just sad for Canada, I think it\'s sad for the women\'s World Cup. It would have been a great advantage for this team, but I\'m not going to speculate on how the Americans might have felt about that.\'\'

Sasha Andrews of Edmonton, one of nine members of the Canadian team which went to a golden goal against the U.S.A. in the final of the FIFA U-19 Women\'s World Championship before 47,784 in Commonwealth Stadium, said it would have been wonderful to go from that to a women\'s World Cup at home.

\"That was so amazing,\'\' she said of the event which drew 162,207 for six dates in Commonwealth Stadium last year.

\"In my situation, I have to admit that right now I don\'t care where it is as long as I make the team. But I know a lot of people in Edmonton are going to be disappointed.\'\'

Lang\'s face dropped when I informed her.

\'OH, SHOOT\'

\"Oh, shoot,\'\' she said. \"That would have been so ... ah shoot. It\'s so disappointing.\'\'

Latham, from Calgary, was too old to play in the U-19 championships and was looking forward to the experience.

\"That\'s a hard thing to handle all the way around,\'\' she said. \"It would have been tremendous. At least we still have that game there on Aug. 31.\'\'

Canada plays Mexico in a deja vu/bon voyage game for which 34,000 tickets have already been sold.

\"We gave it our best shot,\'\' said Pipe. \"We have to say thank you for all the co-operation we had from everybody in Edmonton, the Eskimos, everybody. We couldn\'t have asked for more. It\'s so disappointing.\'\'


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