Vancouver's BC Place To Host '15 World Cup Final; Astroturf An Issue?
BC Place Stadium in Vancouver will host the '15 FIFA Women's World Cup championship match in what will mark "the first World Cup soccer final on artificial turf," according to Monte Stewart of the CP. FIFA has "frowned on using artificial turf in major men's events and professional leagues, because of concerns about a greater risk of injury." But World Cup Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Sandra Gage said that the use of artificial turf "has not been an issue in the women's game." World Cup Organizing Committee member Steve Reed said of the 55,000-seat venue, "We wanted to maximize the number of participants, the number of people that are in the seats. BC Place obviously has that capacity." Canadian organizers and FIFA "made the decision on the final venue jointly." Reed said that the stadium's new retractable roof, which was "installed after the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and upgraded suites and seats which meet FIFA standards also appealed to the governing body" (CP, 3/22). SI.com's Grant Wahl wrote on his Twitter feed, "Storm brewing among top US women's soccer players over much of 2015 World Cup being played on artificial turf in Canada."
HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: The U.S. men's national soccer team announced the venues for its four remaining qualifying games for the '14 FIFA World Cup, June 11 against Panama at CenturyLink Field, June 18 against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium, Sept. 10 against Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium, and Oct. 11 against Jamaica at Sporting Park (USSF). In K.C., Tod Palmer writes Sporting Park could "play host to one of the most critical matches on the road to Brazil in 2014 -- the last home game in the final round of CONCACAF qualification. Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman said, "I don’t think, if you asked someone who didn’t know, where’s the likely location for the biggest game in the country that they’d pick Kansas City. It’s a testament to what the fans have built here" (K.C. STAR, 3/22).
TROUBLE IN PARADISE? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rogerio Jelmayer noted construction of the soccer stadium scheduled to host the opening match of the '14 FIFA World Cup in Brazil "may grind to a halt in a dispute over funding." Former Brazilian club Corinthians President Andrés Sánchez is "threatening to pull the plug on the project unless the government-run National Bank for Economic and Social Development pays out" some $202M in loans that have already been approved. Sánchez said that Corinthians "doesn't have enough cash to continue building the 48,000-seat stadium." A source said that Banco do Brasil has "rejected the guarantees that Corinthians and the construction company, Odebrecht SA, have put up to secure the loans" (WSJ.com, 3/20).