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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."





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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Shit, not good news for T.O! Can the FIFA World Junion Championship Games be played at the Rogers Centre instead? If not, which city will be the hub of the games?

Apparently, Hamilton may take Toronto's place.
 

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Hamilton chasing world soccer tournament

Now here's something you don't hear every day: Toronto's loss could very well be Hamilton's gain.

Yesterday, York University killed plans for its new football/soccer stadium, which had already been mortally wounded by the withdrawal of the Toronto Argonauts as a financing partner and major tenant.

That leaves the Canadian Soccer Association is without a Toronto home for the 2007 World Youth Soccer Championships, which will be played at six Canadian sites.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Tourism Hamilton Inc., are actively campaigning to replace Toronto as Edmonton's co-host for the second largest men's event on soccer's international schedule.

And the soccer people are enthused.

"It's been a very confusing and dark day for us," Kevan Pipe, CEO of the CSA told The Spec yesterday. "The only bright spot in the whole day was the call from (Ticat VP of marketing) Christopher Dean.

"Are we interested?

"Darn right we're interested."

The Tiger-Cats - and probably some city and Tourism Hamilton representatives - will meet with CSA officials next week.

"This is in the really, really early stages," Cats' owner Bob Young told The Spec yesterday. "But we're very serious about it."

There was about $35 million in combined federal and provincial government money on the table for the York University project.

Should the Cats and the city - McMaster University may also be involved - be successful as a replacement for Toronto, those government funds might be available to retro-fit Ivor Wynne Stadium for the event, to upgrade certain aspects of the new Mac stadium, or to help build a new stadium.

All three possibilities were to be examined had Hamilton been successful in landing the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which eventually went to New Delhi.

"Maybe the soccer association needs to keep something in the largest market in Canada, which is southern Ontario," Tourism Hamilton's David Adames said.

There's more than a maybe here.

It's understood that part of FIFA's original attraction to Canada was that Toronto, one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, was to be a centrepiece. It was no accident the Ticat press release yesterday referred to "the greater GTA" rather than just Hamilton.

"We've always said that one of the legacies we want to come out of this is a permanent playing facility in southern Ontario," Pipe told The Spec. "It's the largest market in the country.

"Could Ivor Wynne, with a new surface - either natural grass or artificial turf without the football markings on it - be that kind of place? Yes. And we'd be looking beyond 2007 at other events."

Montreal, with excellent attendance for the Impact and with the new stadium soon to take root, will make a strong pitch to replace Toronto. Talks have also reopened with Sherbrooke - another city that bowed out in support of Montreal - to become a satellite host.

But Hamilton will argue - and the CSA will listen carefully - that if soccer is to grow beyond its second-tier status in this country, another major tournament cannot be staged in Canada without Ontario.

While there are several stadium options available locally, the only one that really makes sense - at least to this corner - is a serious capital commitment to upgrading Ivor Wynne. That would also include neighbouring Brian Timmis Stadium.

The Ticats are spreading their business wings and are landing such extra-curricular contracts as the CFL's web page and golf's Doral Open. Any business acumen or capital/operating money they contribute would likely be linked to the event being held at their home park.

The Cats had been quietly exploring ties to the World Youth Tournament for months and when York pulled out yesterday, franchise executives went into overdrive.

A co-host stadium for the event needs to be available the first three weeks of July in 2007, which precludes any last-gasp attempt for Toronto to retain the tournament by putting it at Rogers Centre. The dome never has three empty weeks in ball season.

"This," said Adames, "is a real opportunity for this city."
 

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Filip said:
Why can't the game be played in the Rogers Centre instead? It has a bigger capacity too .
"A co-host stadium for the event needs to be available the first three weeks of July in 2007, which precludes any last-gasp attempt for Toronto to retain the tournament by putting it at Rogers Centre. The dome never has three empty weeks in ball season."
 

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This is good news for Vancouver. Perhaps now the CSA can seriously look at putting a national stadium in Vancouver and share it with the Whitecaps, Canadian Rugby etc. At least in Vancouver they have the option of hosting these sports year round. Why this is never mentioned in the media is surprising.
 

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^ yes. The original plans the Whitecaps had for their new Vancouver stadium in downtown Vancouver said that their new stadium would be the new home of the national team.
 

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It's just a no brainer isn't it? This city needs to get it's act together. The amount of events we could host with a 30-50k outdoor/retractable roof etc., stadium would be amazing. CSA World Cup friendlies/qualifiers, Whitecaps FC(possibility of attracting MSL??), Rugby Canada -friendlies, WC qualifiers, Churchill Cup, a Champions World Series football/soccer tour stop, CFL, high school sporting events, outdoor concerts. Perhaps it could also have an adjustable track for athletic competitions(as was proposed for new Wembley).

If they could somehow build this damn thing in time for the Olympics it would be awesome but I'm not that confident. Nothing too fancy just a field with stands on either side and covers over the stands seating at least 30k. Something like any of the mid-sized English Premier stadia which are used rain or shine throughout the British winter. A winter almost identicle to Vancouver's. LOL...as you can tell I'm quite passionate about the subject and the fact that I love football>>>>the one with the ball that rolls properly.
 

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Bob Young, owner of the Ti Cats and who want Hamilton to host FIFA World Youth Championship said he'll place a bid to get Ivor Wynne fixed up.

So no new stadium for Hamilton.
 
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