Canada-U.S. World Cup qualifier in Hamilton will be limited to 12,000 fans

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Published January 20, 2022 at 6:04 pm

Fans will be allowed in when Canada faces the rival United States in a World Cup Qualifying soccer match in Hamilton, but the race to get tickets will be run again.

Canada Soccer confirmed today (Jan. 20) that the capacity for the top-of-the-table tilt at Tim Hortons Field on Jan. 30 will be reduced to 50 per cent of the stadium’s capacity, to comply with all relevant public health guidelines. The reduction to 12,000 spectators means ticket sales will be done all over again. All tickets purchased as part of the original on-sale date of Dec. 17 Dec will be cancelled, with full refunds provided to all ticket holders on their credit cards within 2-4 weeks.

Canada Soccer says it will be in direct contact with all ticket purchasers to provide details on how to access tickets for the 50 per cent reduced capacity configuration.

“We remain excited to bring the men’s national team FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers match to Hamilton with the team riding a nation-wide wave of support at the top of the table and we thank all of our fans who helped us sell out Tim Hortons Field back in December and are pushing our team to new heights,” Canada Soccer President Dr. Nick Bontis said in a statement.

“We prioritize the safety of all players, staff and fans and want to acknowledge the diligent and ongoing work, not only these past few weeks, but throughout the Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, of our partners at all levels of government to ensure that we are able to play in front of our fans on home soil.”

The dedicated pre-sale window for all ticket purchasers will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 25). Should any inventory remain available, sales to the general public would follow at 10 a.m. on Jan. 26.

However, in December, tickets were completely snapped up during the presale. That was, of course, when there was twice as much stock.

The havoc wreaked worldwide by the Omicron variant of concern and the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Canada’s player options and preparation for the three-match window. Alphonso Davies, the standout defender who plays for Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich, is sidelined due to a heart muscle issue after a bout with COVID-19. Canada has also cancelled a friendly with Guatemala and a men’s under-20 national team training camp.

Nevertheless, the games appears to be a go. Canada visits Honduras on Jan. 27, hosts the Americans here in Hamilton on the 30th, then travels to El Salvador for the final leg of the window on Feb. 2.

Enhanced public health and safety measures will be in place at Tim Hortons Field including fans attending the match being required to provide proof of vaccination (QR code and double dose), pass through active screening upon entry, wear masks (unless eating or drinking), practice social distancing, remain in their seats unless using washrooms or purchasing food and beverage, and avoid congregating in common areas.

Canada, whose first-choice lineup includes the likes of forward Cyle Larin of Brampton, midfielder Tajon Buchanan of Brampton and goalkeeper Milan Borjan of Stoney Creek, is in first place in the CONCACAF region after eight rounds of matches. The top three teams after the 14-match octagonal (all eight teams playing each other home and away) will qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. The fourth-placed team will play in an inter-continental playoff.

The Canadians have 16 points from eight matches and are the lone unbeaten team at 4-4-0. The United States (4-3-1), which failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, is one point back in second, with Mexico and Panana (both 4-4-2) level in third place. Fifth-place Costa Rica (2-3-3) is the first one out, seven points adrift of Canada.

The Jan. 30 match will be the first time the Canadian men’s team have played an International ‘A’ match in Hamilton, Ontario. The women’s national team, who are reigning Olympic gold medallists, hosted Germany in a friendly at Tim Hortons Field in 2018.

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