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Ontario to give Toronto up to $97M for FIFA World Cup

BMO Field BMO Field - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario has conditionally committed to giving Toronto up to $97 million for the city's FIFA World Cup hosting duties, as long as the federal government matches its contribution.

Toronto is set to co-host the 2026 World Cup, along with the United States and Mexico, which will also see games in Vancouver.

Deputy Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Sarah Harrison detailed the provincial funding in a letter to Toronto's city manager, which was sent in December but was made public Thursday.

"Ontario’s investment to support this event is exclusively limited to investments that will build lasting public infrastructure and benefits that will serve the community long after the games are over," Harrison wrote.

The money is not to go toward any costs where the primary beneficiary is a private, for-profit, or otherwise non-public entity, she wrote.

It is conditional on the federal government matching the funding and being responsible for any safety and security needs it determines are necessary.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said the federal government has been committed to the FIFA bid.

"We've been in conversation with the federal government, and it's been very positive and there will be more details coming forward," she said Thursday.

The funding commitment comes after the province agreed to take over the costs for two Toronto highways to help ease the city's budget shortfall, and Harrison noted those pressures in the letter.

"As our two levels of government work together to implement this deal, we urge the city to limit public investment in the FIFA World Cup 2026 to the greatest extent possible," she wrote.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2024.