Canada confirmed as 2015 Women's World Cup host

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:49 PM ET

FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed Thursday that Canada will host the 2015 Women's World Cup.


 "Our multiculturalism, our diversity will make it so that each and every of the 24 participating teams will be welcomed with open arms and will play in a full to the brim stadium," Canadian Soccer Association president Dominic Maestracci said at the news conference in Zurich, Switzerland.


Canada's bid won by default after its only competitor, Zimbabwe, withdrew on Tuesday.

Canada must also host the 2014 Under-20 Women's World Cup as a test event. Host cities for both tournaments are to be announced after FIFA inspects stadiums this fall.

Seven cities applied to host matches: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Moncton.

The cost to federal, provincial and municipal taxpayers has not been revealed, though the federal government has pledged $15 million for both tournaments. Nearly 400,000 women and girls play soccer in Canada, making it the country's most-played female team sport.

Canada is the top qualifier from the North and Central American and Caribbean zone for the 2011 Women's World Cup, which begins June 26 in Germany.

Canada has hosted three FIFA tournaments: the 1987 Under-17 and Under-20 Women's World Championships and the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. The 2007 event drew almost 1.2 million spectators to 52 matches, making it the biggest single-sport tournament in Canadian history.


Meanwhile, FIFA opted not to change the quota of slots for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Canada's men's team must vie for one of three slots against 39 nations in North and Central America and the Caribbean, including regional powerhouses Mexico and the United States. The fourth-place finisher will have a chance to advance via wildcard matches. FIFA will hold a draw to set matchups.


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