City says it couldn't guarantee stadium at Lansdowne would be ready
The City of Ottawa is no longer in the running to host the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in 2014 because it couldn't guarantee the venue — the stadium at Lansdowne Park — will be ready in time.
Ottawa won't be one of the Canadian cities hosting the international soccer tournament in July 2014, but the city still plans on hosting the more prestigious FIFA Women's World Cup the following year.
In a statement, the city said it has decided to put all its resources towards the 2015 event because its economic benefits are expected to be far greater than the junior tournament.
Ottawa hosted the FIFA Men's Under 20 World Cup in 2007 and attracted large crowds. Mayor Jim Watson said the event also led to $8 million in spinoff economic benefits.
In previous statements, Watson had spoken about the "huge" combined economic benefit of the two tournaments, and last year Ottawa city council voted to contribute $400,000 to support the Canadian Soccer Association's bid for both.
Ottawa has already been officially announced as a venue for the 2015 event. FIFA has not formally announced the venues for the women's under-20 championship in 2014.
Lansdowne legal challenges played role in delay: Watson
Watson said delays in the Lansdowne Park redevelopment project came into play.
"When we were in discussions with the Canadian Soccer Association they wanted us to host both... but we knew with the Friends of Lansdowne and the [Lansdowne] Conservancy lawsuits it was taking longer than we thought and in good conscience we could not put in a bid for the Under-20 because we couldn't guarantee the facility would be ready," said Watson.
According to current timelines, the south side stands of Frank Clair Stadium aren't due to be competed until June 2014, while the entire project should be finished one year later.
Both the North American Soccer League and the Canadian Football League are scheduled to play at the stadium in 2014.