KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The city of Montreal has decided that it does not, after all, want to be one of theĀ  Canadian host venues for the 2026 World Cup finals.

The tournament, the first with 48 teams, will be staged in Canada, Mexico and the United States with the majority of matches being played in the US. However three venues had been allocated to Canada and three to Mexico.

Now FIFA has been informed by Canada Soccer of the decision taken by the City of Montreal to withdraw from the venue selection process for the 2026 finals.

The decision is a blow to Victor Montagliani,. the president of regional confederation CONCACAF and a FIFA vice-president by virtue of that status. He is a Canadian who worked to negotiate the staging balance between the three host countries and which included a French-Canadian city in Montreal.

The city has a long and unhappy history with the world’s sports events. Taxpayers were lifted with heavy debts to resolve over the cost of the stadium which hosted the Olympic Games in 1976.

FIFA must now decide whether it is satisfied with only two Canadian venues – Edmonton and Toronto – and, if so, whether to add a further venue to the US list.