Words of Warner

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner reviews the facilities at Commonwealth Stadium yesterday. Warner...

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner reviews the facilities at Commonwealth Stadium yesterday. Warner says Edmonton will play a major role in hosting the 2011 Women's World Cup, but do his words hold weight? (Edmonton Sun/David Bloom)

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:30 PM ET

Jack Warner says he believes Canada will play host to the FIFA 2011 Women's World Cup.

The FIFA vice president who heads the CONCACAF region, also suggests Canada's games and the final should be held here.

Whoa. Hold the celebration.

The problem with Jack Warner saying anything is that the man has a considerable credibility problem here.

SWIPE AT EDMONTON

This is the same Jack Warner who visited Toronto last year and took a swipe at Edmonton's gripe that the Alberta capital deserved to host the opening and final of next year's FIFA U-20 championship, which was awarded to Toronto.

"I can say quite honestly that I think Edmonton has been lucky to even get a semifinal," Warner said of the 24-nation men's event scheduled for six Canadian cities.

With the "ballistic" (to quote FIFA boss Sepp Blatter) hosting of the Women's U19 here in 2002 - an event which drew 238,000, including 47,484 for the final, in addition to other hosting successes - Edmonton fans believed the final would be here.

Warner, in Toronto, said the U-19 event here "could be looked at as an aberration."

This is a man who halfway through the U-19 tournament here was complaining to local organizers about the lack of local media coverage (which was massive) until organizers discovered his complaint was based entirely on the Globe & Mail under his door at his Hotel Macdonald suite.

This is also a man currently under investigation involving allegations of scalping FIFA tickets at the Germany 2006 World Cup.

Whatever, Warner says he's thrilled with a Canadian bid for 2011 and is convinced FIFA must give it to our nation.

INSPECTION TOUR

In town yesterday on a site inspection tour for next year's event, Warner said he believes Canada would have held the Women's World Cup in 2007 if the 2003 event didn't have to be relocated from China to the USA because of SARS. China was given it in 2007.

"You can't count USA 2003 as a CONCACAF hosting because we were asked to host that as a favour to FIFA," said Warner, ignoring the concept that Canada ended up with the men's U-20 instead.

"A 2011 Canada Women's World Cup bid has CONCACAF's full support," he said.

Germany is the current World Cup champion. Canada finished fourth at the last World Cup, but many believe the Canadian team, the nucleus of which Edmonton fell in love with at the 2002 event, will be in the prime of their careers with a chance to win it all in 2011 if they don't do it next year in China.

"It wouldn't be right to go to Germany. It means more to Canada than Germany," said Warner.

And as for the Canadian games and the final in Edmonton?

"After what I've seen, that would only be fair," he said. "We at FIFA are always happy to be in Edmonton. The organization here is always excellent. It's the biggest and the best in this country."

If it all came to be, it might make it an "all's well that ends well" thing.

Christine Sinclair, Kara Lang and the girls have a much higher profile here than the Canada's invisible 71st-ranked men's World Cup qualifying team. And our 10th ranked women, unlike the U-20 men, might actually be in the final.

Warner, for the record, said he still supports Toronto playing host to Canada's opener and the final of the U-20 event.

Toronto, he said, was awarded the final as "a thank you" for the government and private financing provided to build a 24,000 seat stadium.

But "in retrospect" he said his "lucky to even get a semi-final" and "aberration" quotes may have been too strong. You think?

This week, the CSA will announce that about 350,000 tickets have been sold for the U-20 event in which Toronto will host 13 games, Edmonton nine, Ottawa and Montreal eight, and Victoria and Vancouver seven each.

More than half of those tickets - 180,932 - have been sold in Edmonton.

"Once again Edmonton is the leader of the pack. We knew that it would be. It's not a surprise," said Kevan Pipe of the CSA.

But the final is in Toronto.

Gotta love these guys.


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