Tickets for Canada’s much-touted FIFA World Cup qualifier against the United States at Tim Hortons Field have sold out again.
It took less than an hour on Tuesday for 12,000 stubs to be snapped up in a resale initiated by Canada Soccer to comply with Ontario COVID-19 public health measures limiting capacity for sporting events.
This week’s resale was limited to just the initial 24,000 ticket holders who purchased tickets in mid-December’s sellout prior to new provincial measures.
“Due to the reduced capacity of 12,000 spectators, all tickets purchased as part of the original on sale date … will be cancelled with full refunds provided to all ticket holders on their credit cards within two to four weeks,” Canada Soccer said in a statement.
The game is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff time on Sunday, the day before the province eases more restrictions for large gatherings.
Canada will be in the middle of a three-match FIFA window for the men’s national team, which will face Honduras on Jan. 27, and then travel to El Salvador on Feb. 2.
The U.S. schedule includes home games against the same teams — El Salvador on Jan. 27 and Honduras on Feb. 2.
Two Alberta matches in November drew large crowds, over 40,000 each. Temperatures during the win against Mexico on Nov. 16, dubbed the “Iceteca,” hovered around -11 C.
It’s anticipated Canada’s senior team will once again play between snowbanks with clouds, flurries and -6 C temperatures expected by game time.
So far, Canada is on top of the CONCACAF third-round standings, one point ahead of the United States.
The three top teams in the pool of eight will advance to the group stage of the 2022 World Cup set for Qatar in November and December later this year.
Canada Soccer had dialogue with city over COVID before resale
Hamilton’s emergency operations centre (EOC) and public health confirmed Canada Soccer reached out prior to reselling tickets for Sunday’s match amid a current COVID-19 wave.
The city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said the sporting body did their “due diligence” in keeping within provincial parameters.
“We worked with the event organizers to look at how best to implement the spirit of those rules, not just the actual by-the-letter rules of the regulation,” Richardson said.
The MOH admitted no event like this and the last Grey Cup game is “no risk” when it comes to COVID, but believes stipulations for spectators laid out for the match are adequate in terms of maintaining physical distancing and masking.
“There is still a risk associated with events like these where people are together, and we absolutely encourage the community to look at this,” said Richardson.
“You know, we’re still recommending that contacts be limited.”
EOC boss Jason Thorne said the organizers’ plan included spreading capacity around the entirety of the stadium to maximize distancing in addition to modifications of concession and food service.
“Organizers did give us the opportunity to provide some comments on their safety plan,” Thorne said.
“They put in place the measures that are going above and beyond the minimum requirements of those provincial regulations.”
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