Just days after Zimbabwe withdrew from consideration to host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, Canada — the only remaining bidding nation — was officially announced on Thursday as the tournament host.
"We are committed to the growth of women’s soccer both in Canada and internationally and anticipate that this event will be another successful FIFA competition that will have a lasting impact on the sport in this country,” Canadian Soccer Association president Dr. Dominic Maestracci said in a statement.
The quadrennial event will expand from 16 to 24 participating nations for the 2015 edition, which increases the number of matches from 32 to 52.
Canada will also host the women's U-20 World Cup in 2014, which will act as a test competition to help the nation prepare for 2015. Last year, the Government of Canada pledged $15 million (Canadian) to help cover operating costs for both events.
Seven cities were presented in the CSA's bid package: Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Moncton, New Brunswick. FIFA will begin inspecting those sites in the fall.
“The successful bid would not have been possible without support from all levels of government and we wish to express our sincere appreciation for the role that they have played in our successful bid,” CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli said.
Canada has hosted several FIFA events in the past, including the men's U-17 World Cup in 1987 and the inaugural women's U-20 World Cup in 2002. It most recently hosted the men's U-20 World Cup in 2007, attracting nearly 1.2 million spectators and generating $259 million in revenue, according to the CSA.
FIFA also announced that Uzbekistan will host the women's U-20 World Cup in 2012 and Costa Rica will host the women's U-17 World Cup in 2014. The men's U-20 World Cup will be staged in Turkey in 2013 and New Zealand in 2015, while the U-17 version will be held in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 and Chile in 2015.