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Ontario kicks Toronto nearly $100 million for 2026 FIFA World Cup hosting duties

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Ontario has “conditionally committed” to pass Toronto close to $100 million for its 2026 FIFA World Cup hosting duties, but the city is still waiting on a funding assist from the federal government.

In a Dec. 1 letter obtained by CTV News Toronto, Ontario’s Deputy Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Sarah Harrison told City Manager Paul Johnson that the $97 million is contingent on a matching cash injection from the federal government.

Toronto is set to host at least five games in the international tournament that will also see matches played in Vancouver, the U.S. and Mexico.

The cost of hosting those five games is estimated to be roughly $300 million. The city is expected to chip in around $90 million, while the provincial and federal government cover the other two thirds.

At this point, the federal government has not formally announced its funding commitment, but Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said Thursday at an unrelated news conference she is hopeful it will come.

“I just know that the federal government has committed to the FIFA bid. We've been in conversation with the federal government, and it's been very positive and there will be more details coming forward,” Chow said.

Other stipulations of the provincial funding include rules for where the money is spent. Harrison says the money is “exclusively limited to investments that will build lasting public infrastructure and benefits that will serve the community long after the games are over.”

Any costs where the primary beneficiary is a privately-owned or for-profit company will not be included in the provincial funding.

As well, deficit funding will not be covered by the province, Harrison wrote.

Which 2026 FIFA World Cup games will Toronto host?

FIFA announced last month that the match schedule for the games will be revealed during a special live broadcast on Feb. 4.

Initially, Toronto anticipated hosting about five games, but that number could be higher with the addition of 24 games to the tournament due to a format change.

Any games Toronto does host will be played at BMO Field, where 17,750 temporary seats will be added to meet FIFA’s 45,000-seat requirement.

The games are expected to produce $307 million in gross domestic product, create 3,300 jobs and bring in 174,000 overnight visitors.

A rendering of an expansion set to be added to BMO Field is seen in this image. (www.bmofield.com)

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