The show must go on.
Despite the University of Toronto's decision to kill plans for a new Varsity Stadium, FIFA vice-president/CONCACAF president Jack Warner said Canada is not in jeopardy of losing the 2007 world youth (under-20) soccer championship.
"This does not not affect the tournament," Warner told The Toronto Sun from his office in Trinidad and Tobago. "It may retard the quality of it ... but I can say with 100% confidence (the event will remain in Canada)."
Five other Canadian stadiums -- including Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium for the final -- are slated to play host to games. If a new stadium in Toronto isn't ready for the start of the tournament on July 1, 2007, Warner said games simply could be shifted to other cities. For Toronto to play host to games, Warner said a new stadium would have to get the go-ahead by February 2005.
WILL BE CREATIVE
"We will rise from the ashes of Varsity Stadium and be creative," Warner said.
Canada beat out a bid from South Korea to stage FIFA's second-largest event and was granted the tourney Aug. 10 at a news conference in Toronto.
While supporting the Canadian Soccer Association's effort, Warner was quick to criticize U of T.
"I am shocked," Warner said. "The hope we wanted to give all young people has been dashed for now. This is not the way Canadians behave. This is not the way a democracy like Canada works. This is not how the world regards Canada."
CSA chief operating officer Kevan Pipe said he's still committed to having a new Toronto stadium ready for the 2007 world youth championship.
"We're saddened by the news, but we're not going to lose sight of the objective in front of us, which is to build a stadium," Pipe said. "We're trying to create a legacy. We want to get a stadium built and it shall get built."