Friday, April 22, 2005

World Youth Bid Withdrawn

By KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press
April 22, 2005

A London soccer group has withdrawn from a process that could have seen the city play a role in the 2007 world youth soccer championship.

An intent to bid for first-round games was filed with the Canadian Soccer Association in January by the London Gryphons, an elite women's team that begins play next month in the U.S.-based W-League.

The team will eventually play at a stadium to be built on a 12-hectare parcel of land on Adelaide Street north of Windermere Road. That complex was a key part of the city's bid.

"We removed our bid because I'm not sure if the stadium will be ready in time," Gryphons GM and part- owner Aldo Caranci said yesterday.

"We didn't want to end up with a black eye in not having a portion of the facility ready for the event."

Eleven other cities submitted intents to bid for a host role at the world tournament but Hamilton, Winnipeg and Calgary also withdrew.

Six cities will hold first-round games, with Toronto and Edmonton playing major roles.

Although the planned London stadium won't see an international soccer tournament in the near future, the facility may be ready for the 2006 world field lacrosse championship. That tournament will be played at several locations throughout the city.

The International Lacrosse Federation, the Gryphons, London United Soccer Club and Fanshawe Optimists are some of the groups involved in the facility project, which calls for eight multi-use fields to be built and seating for 5,500.

"The groups come together and we all have expertise in our area," Caranci said.

"I think we should be in the ground in the next 30 to 60 days."