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Toronto gets go-ahead for new soccer stadium

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  • Toronto gets go-ahead for new soccer stadium

    Toronto soccer stadium gets green light
    Major League Soccer

    Canadian Press

    10/27/2005 7:11:01 PM

    TORONTO (CP) - The proposed soccer-specific stadium in Toronto passed its final hurdle Thursday, but not without some opposition.

    City council eventually endorsed the stadium plan 25-13 in a vote, agreeing to contribute $9.8 million and land worth $10 million for the 20,000-seat venue near the lakefront at Exhibition Place.

    The federal government has pledged $27 million to the stadium with another $8 million from the provincial government.

    Naming rights are expected to account for another $10 million with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. contributing $8 million.

    The $62.8-million stadium is a key component of MLSE's bid for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. It will also play a key role when Canada hosts the 2007 world under-20 soccer championship.

    The city approval was fast-tracked after Major League Soccer imposed an Oct. 31 deadline for sorting out the stadium.

    ''Todays city council vote represents a historic moment for the city of Toronto and Canadian soccer,'' MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. ''We look forward to continuing to work with MLSE to finalize an agreement for an MLS expansion team.''

    Still, some councillors objected to the speed in which the plan was put forward.

    ''I think it's going to come back and haunt us by the way,'' said Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti. ''It smells.''

    ''We don't need a stadium right now,'' added Coun. Rob Ford. ''It's the last thing we need.''

    ''This is going to backfire. Please do not support this,'' he said.

    Ford suggested the proposed $10 million go to Toronto police instead.

    Mayor David Miller spoke in favour of the plan and against a move to defer the vote to carry out a two-week study on stadium location and then report back to council in December.

    ''It's up to us to make a decision,'' he said.

    ''If you don't want to accept $53 million of other people's money being invested in a facility we own, don't support it,'' he added.

    The motion to defer was defeated 23-12.

    The 12-team MLS added two new franchises this season: Real Salt Lake and FC Chivas, which plays out of Carson, Calif. Those expansion franchises cost $10 million US apiece.

    The Toronto franchise is expected to cost MLSE slightly more.

    MLS is looking for a second expansion team in 2007, with the leading candidates Cleveland, Philadelphia, Houston, Milwaukee and St. Louis, Garber said.

    The Canadian Soccer Association, City of Toronto and MLSE Entertainment have already struck concluded a 20-year agreement on how to run the stadium. MLSE will operate the venue, which will be owned by the city.

    Exhibition Place is located opposite Ontario Place on the lakefront. It used to be home to the Toronto Argos and Blue Jays at Exhibition Stadium, and currently houses the American Hockey League's Marlies at the Ricoh Coliseum.

    The soccer stadium has been an on-again, off-again project.

    The CSA first pitched the idea of a soccer-specific stadium - an $83-million plan for a 30,000-seat venue at Exhibition Place - in July 2003. But it had little more than an initial stadium design at the time, plus a plan to ask various levels of government for a total of $62.5 million.

    The project was then moved to the University of Toronto, which later backed away. Another plan at York University was shelved for the same reasons.

    The Toronto Argonauts were partners in the plan, then stepped aside after deciding to stay at the Rogers Centre.

    There was then talk of moving it to Downsview Park on federal-owned land in northern Toronto.

    But the mayor wanted the stadium in Exhibition Place and the city money sealed the location.

    ''The Canadian Soccer Association wants to be at Exhibition Place because their study shows that's where it's to be,'' Miller said. ''Their study, not ours ... Canadian Soccer, that's where they want it.''

    The stadium design calls for 20,000 seats with the ability to expand by another 10,000 seats.

    The Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact both plan their owns stadiums down the line. But neither team is happy that the CSA has pushed the Toronto stadium, saying focusing solely on Toronto will be bad for soccer elsewhere in the country.

    Rugby Canada says it will likely not stage internationals in the Toronto area because leading rugby teams won't play on an artificial surface.[/b][/quote]

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    Mayor Lowery build the Soccer Stadium. Then you can add MSL team to the sign that says home of game show hostess and Miss USA Shandi Finnessy.


    • #3
      She's hosting a game show? lol
      Are you on the list?


      • #4
        I give the big wigs credit for persistance and effort, but professional soccer will never ever become a major player in this country.
        Make America Great For Once.


        • #5
          QUOTE(The Kev @ Oct 27 2005, 09:32 PM) Quoted post

          I give the big wigs credit for persistance and effort, but professional soccer will never ever become a major player in this country.

          Barry willing, let the micks and the rest of the Euros keep their soccer/football/futbol/etc.
          Leave that for late-night sports for all of us insomniacs.
          "Whaddya mean I hurt your feelings?"
          "I didn't know you
          had any feelings"