Toronto FC's home of BMO Field is set to undergo another expansion in a bid to be one of the venues for the 2026 World Cup hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Toronto president Bill Manning spoke to OneSoccer about the plans, noting that the main project would be expanding the capacity to 45,000 or 46,000. The stadium currently hosts 30,000 for soccer matches, but can expand to 40,000.
"The stadium itself will have to expand to roughly 45,000-46,000," Manning said. "It is something that we've engineered and looked at -- permanent solution, temporary solution -- and we have a good plan there and FIFA is happy with our plan to expand the stadium."
Manning also said FIFA is pleased with the pitch at BMO Field, saying "they're very, very pleased with the quality."
It would be the latest major renovation at BMO Field since the stadium opened in 2007. At different periods, the stadium underwent renovations to expand seating as well as update the pitch and make the stadium more accessible for the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.
BMO Field currently meets FIFA's requirements as a World Cup venue, as it can host 40,000. Toronto is one of three Canadian cities that will host World Cup matches in 2026, alongside Montreal and Edmonton. Manning made the case for not just BMO Field, but Toronto as a host city during the OneSoccer interview.
"I just think Toronto will be such a great city to host a World Cup. Whatever team's playing in Toronto, we feel like they have a home field advantage because there's so many nationalities, such a diverse culture here in Toronto. Every team will feel at home and so that is definitely something in our favor."
The list of candidates to host matches for the 2026 World Cup currently stands at 23, and will be narrowed down to 16. Canada and Mexico have each locked in their three venues for the tournament, while the list of US venues will be reduced to ten. FIFA hopes to make the decision by the end of 2021.