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Old May 12th, 2005, 11:58 PM   #1
Travis007
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York Pulls Plug On Stadium

York pulls plug on stadium plan

Thursday, May 12, 2005 Updated at 12:47 PM EDT
Canadian Press

Toronto — York University has pulled out of a planned stadium project, citing a lack of time and the Toronto Argos' recent decision to withdraw.

The news is a body blow to the Canadian Soccer Association, which had insisted the stadium would be built.

But FIFA, the sport's world governing body, has said the 2007 World Youth Championship will go ahead in Canada as scheduled whether the Toronto stadium was built or not.

The York stadium, along with Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, were to be the major homes for the tournament.

"The university was very committed to this project and was working hard to bring it to reality," the university said in a statement Thursday. "However, the circumstances around that decision have changed.

"The stadium was approved on the basis of an arrangement which included important financial contributions and guarantees. The unexpected decision by the Argos so close to the construction deadline effectively set the project back six months and has made it impossible for us to proceed in the given timeframe."

The Argos were to have contributed $20 million and any cost overruns to the $70-million, 25,000-seat stadium. But they balked at the last minute, opting to accept a sweeter deal to stay at the Rogers Centre, formerly SkyDome.

The federal government committed $27 million and the provincial government another $8 million to the York project. The university was to donate the land and $15 million.

The government money came because the Canadian Soccer Association had made the Toronto stadium the cornerstone of a bid for the 2007 world youth championship.

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner said last week the under-20 tournament will go ahead in Canada no matter what happened with the Toronto stadium.

The 24-team tournament had been slated to take place in Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria.

In its statement, York said it had faced an immediate commitment of $5 million for major site preparations to meet the 2007 project completion deadline.

The university said it would have been required to assume all of the risks and operating costs for a 20,000-seat stadium "with significantly reduced usage by outside parties."

""We have been working intensively to make this project happen, but, frankly, we are out of time. Our priority must always be the best interests of the York University community," university vice-president Gary Brewer said in a statement.

"We cannot, in good conscience, spend university money without knowing exact costs and funding arrangements for the project, and without the certainty that we will be able to meet the required timeline. The clock ran out on us."
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Old May 13th, 2005, 12:03 AM   #2
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So what happens to the world youth championship now? Will it go on without Toronto now?
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Old May 13th, 2005, 12:27 AM   #3
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Wow! Just heard an announcement from Ti-Cats couple of minutes ago.....

Toronto's loss, Hamilton's gain?

HAMILTON - York University has pulled out of a planned stadium project, citing the Toronto Argos' recent decision to withdraw.

The university says the unexpected decision by the Argos has made it impossible to proceed in the given time frame.

The Argos were to have contributed 20 million dollars to the stadium.

That means, Canadian Soccer Association officials don't have a Toronto home for the 2007 World Youth Championship.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are now looking at possibly having Hamilton as a host site for the FIFA World Youth Championship.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are pleased to announce their intention to explore Hamilton as a host site for the FIFA World Youth Championship Canada 2007.

“Keeping the event in the greater GTA allows Canada's largest population base to experience this once-in-a-lifetime sporting event,” said Ticats owner Bob Young. “We believe that the city of Hamilton has the ability, facilities, and community support to deliver a world-class tournament.”
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Old May 13th, 2005, 12:49 AM   #4
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"The Argos were to have contributed $20 million and any cost overruns to the $70-million, 25,000-seat stadium. But they balked at the last minute, opting to accept a sweeter deal to stay at the Rogers Centre, formerly SkyDome."


Hell, the Argos could have had an even sweeter deal if they just forked over the $25 million to buy the Skydome outright...and lease it out themselves. WTF???? $25 measley million for that place is like...a joke!!





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Old May 13th, 2005, 03:09 AM   #5
Kommandant Mark
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Wow...gee, Toronto sure is a "world-class" city that it likes to think of itself as so much
A city without a single football stadium...bah!!!

I think Calcutta has a better chance of getting the Olympics than we do.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 03:18 AM   #6
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^ Actually Skydome can be used for football/soccer, infact it already has been...it has some minor quirks but overall it does a pretty solid job.

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Old May 13th, 2005, 03:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kommandant Mark
Wow...gee, Toronto sure is a "world-class" city that it likes to think of itself as so much
A city without a single football stadium...bah!!!

I think Calcutta has a better chance of getting the Olympics than we do.
One deal falling through hardly strips Toronto of its status as a world class city...
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Old May 13th, 2005, 08:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJoe
^ Actually Skydome can be used for football/soccer, infact it already has been...it has some minor quirks but overall it does a pretty solid job.
Indeed, the whole idea of building a soccer stadium would have been idiotic, and since Argonauts didn't want to take part in the stadium anymore, the whole project would have been a fairly gigantic waste of money.

Soccer is not a major sport in Toronto. Never was, never will be, apart from various nations going nuts during World Cup; but these people wouldn't support a crappy Toronto soccer club. So what is the point of having a stadium in the crappy North York wasteland that isn't even a home to any major club? Skydome converts seamlessly from baseball to football, and there's no reason why it can't be used for a few soccer matches Toronto gets. No reason to waste taxpayer dollars.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #9
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What a ugly stadium for a world class city. Thank god it's not built.

Last edited by katatonic; May 13th, 2005 at 10:08 AM.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 12:50 PM   #10
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We have a soccer stadium called Lamport Stadium. Why not rennovate it and then you have a suitable soccer venue.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 11:32 PM   #11
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Strange how almost within a week of Montréal's intention to build a new soccer stadium, York's plans falter. I hope Toronto can still host part of the 2007 FIFA World Youth Championship. Maybe follow the Argos?
_________________________________
Soccer stadium dead, York says
University cites Argonauts' withdrawal, too tight a deadline for construction
By DAVID NAYLOR
Friday, May 13, 2005 Page A10

The Canadian Soccer Association's dream of an outdoor stadium in Toronto appears dead after York University pulled the plug yesterday on a facility to play host to the 2007 FIFA World Youth Championship.

The university made the announcement 10 days after the Toronto Argonauts said formally they were withdrawing from the $70-million project they helped hatch last fall, taking $20-million in financing with them.

"It's not an easy decision we've had to make, but it's the right one," said Gary Brewer, York's vice-president of finance and administration. "We've been doing a lot of work since last October when we initiated the project, and . . . found ourselves in a situation where we had to almost go back to square one. We were trying to redesign a stadium to fit a $50-million budget, but we were really just two years away from when the stadium would [need to] be ready for the 2007 tournament."

While design reductions shrank the projected price tag to about $54-million within the past week, tight time lines hanging over the project made the university nervous. Demolition and preparation for construction would have cost the institution $5-million next month, without a final design, cost or overall project timeline completed.

"I wouldn't disagree that time was a factor," said Canadian Soccer Association chief operating officer Kevan Pipe. "All we can do for that is thank our friends at the Argos."

York is now going forward with plans to build a stadium that seats 5,000 to 7,000. Its existing venue is being moved because of a proposed subway stop.

Yesterday's announcement is not only a severe blow to the CSA's 2½-year quest to build a Toronto stadium, but it also leaves the organization searching for one or more hosts to replace York during the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) tournament.

Possibilities include Sherbrooke, the Rogers Centre and a bid made public late yesterday by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, which could play host to matches at Ivor Wynne Stadium or a new facility being built at McMaster University.

"The Hamilton scenario is very interesting because if they are prepared to make it a soccer-friendly venue for 2007 and beyond, that's a very exciting alternative," Mr. Pipe said.

He added that it would be inappropriate to comment on whether the $35-million in government funding secured for the York project could be moved to another venue, such as McMaster.

Other sites already on board for the tournament are in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal.

The York stadium project was born last October after plans for the Argos and CSA to partner with the University of Toronto fell apart at the school's end. However, with timelines so tight, none of the parties had to commit financially to the project until its proof of concept, design details and costing were complete. That wasn't until early April.

"The terms had some flexibility and that was to protect both sides," York's Mr. Brewer said.

He added that Argo owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski, both York alumni, have volunteered to reimburse the university the costs it incurred in the project.

The Argos apparently had issues with parking and available dates at the proposed stadium, and were not convinced that its $70-million price tag would meet all their needs.

Mr. Pipe, who was stunned when the team pulled out of the project three weeks ago, said that was the decisive blow in the stadium's fate.

"Certainly the slippery slope of this entire project began when the Argos pulled out of the deal," he said.

Cancellation of the York project also diminishes the chance of Toronto one day landing a Major League Soccer franchise. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has been discussing the potential purchase of an MLS expansion franchise since last fall. However, Maple Leaf president Richard Peddie suggested those plans are now on hold.

"I still believe that a Major League Soccer franchise can work in this city," Mr. Peddie said. "But one of the keys to that is having a good soccer stadium. Given that we've just found out about [York's decision], we haven't had a chance to think about next steps.

"We would have loved to have sat down to see if there was a way we could help. It sounds like the door is closed, but that is a question I will ask. But I don't know what help means."
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Old May 13th, 2005, 11:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katatonic


What a ugly stadium for a world class city. Thank god it's not built.
Well, it's a simple small stadium. I think this is the ideal image of "stadium" when the word comes to mind.



"We have a soccer stadium called Lamport Stadium. Why not rennovate it and then you have a suitable soccer venue."


Lamport Stadium is too small. A stadium for this needs to hold thousands of people.



"One deal falling through hardly strips Toronto of its status as a world class city..."



Well Toronto has done pretty fine so far w/o a soccer stadium and I think it'll continue to do well.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 12:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kommandant Mark
Wow...gee, Toronto sure is a "world-class" city that it likes to think of itself as so much
A city without a single football stadium...bah!!!

I think Calcutta has a better chance of getting the Olympics than we do.
And having a soccer stadium makes a city world-class? Toronto has done well in being a "world class city" without a soccer stadium.
Toronto will build the venues when we get the olympics/whatever.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 07:23 AM   #14
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Anyone know what's to come of Lamport, if anything at all.

As for the Soccer stadium, not going to shed a tear over it, but I have to admit what the Argo's did was pretty conniving. I know it's business and all, but they really screwed York and the Soccer Assoc.
just my humble opinion
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Old May 15th, 2005, 12:19 AM   #15
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they need to get some better professional soccer here...to say that nobody like soccer in toronto is a screwed up thing to say...i grew up playing a lot of soccer and there is so much talent...the problem is nobody wants to put any money on a decent soccer arena...heck why not build one at the waterfront in one of those large old industrial areas...if they are working on that waterfront they might as well start off by making a field at least for the lynx for starters...and ppl might actually want to watch....like i said after playing soccer in school or whatever..ppl give the sport up because there is no path to professional soccer after post-secondary...very difficult...there are so many cultures and toronto would be the perfect place to promote more soccer...a lot of toronto's population is from europe...most notably italians, portuguese, greeks, polish, and spanish ppl....the carribeans and africans also love soccer....toronto is the most multicultural city...and soccer would be adapted very quickly here
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Old May 15th, 2005, 12:24 AM   #16
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LOOK!!!!!

look at the turnout!!! one game

jam packed....the fact is toronto can become a great soccer city and we do have the population to support it

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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJoe
^ Actually Skydome can be used for football/soccer, infact it already has been...it has some minor quirks but overall it does a pretty solid job.
I too think that soccer works quite well in the Skydome. And until the MLS blossoms in the city, Skydome would be a great venue for it.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:37 AM   #18
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Lamport Stadium seats 10,000.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 04:54 AM   #19
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One of the biggest setback Rogers Centre faces is that it must be available the first three weeks of July 2007 in order to co-host the event. Rogers Centre has never had three empty weeks in ball season.

Then you also have to work the schedule around for the Argos.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #20
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you know what...the ROGERS CENTRE is starting to get under my skin..we need a professional soccer field that is centralized for the whole GTA....not one in north york...not one in scarborough...one SMACK DAB in the centre of it all....downtown toronto near the waterfront
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