Ethiopian Soccer Tournament: Delay to announce host city has Toronto organizers fed up

Above: The most recent tournament was held in San Jose, CA
Toronto and Atlanta are the front runners for 2011. (File photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Yeamrot Taddese

Published: Friday, August 13, 2010

Toronto, Canada (Tadias) – The Ethiopian Soccer Federation in North America (ESFNA) was supposed to announce the next soccer tournament host city on July 4 but bidding cities are still waiting for a decision.

Tournament organizers in Toronto said if the delay continues, their city will lose a rate offer from the Royal York Hotel, one of the hotels where discounted reservation has been made to accommodate visitors. “A decision will need to be made very soon to be able to hold the space for [the tournament],” wrote Shelley Crawford, the Account Director of Sports from Tourism Toronto to the organizing committee. “Royal York’s offer will expire late August.”

Samuel Getachew, the communications director of Toronto’s Ethiopian soccer team, Ethio Star, has also been working to complete ESFNA’s criteria of a host city. “It has been six weeks and I am now questioning my confidence in working with the federation,” he said. He added that he personally believes ESFNA is having a hard time choosing between Toronto and its competition Atlanta. “But leadership is about making decisions.”

Getachew, who is running for city councillor in Toronto, said he and his team are still making sure they provide everything ESFNA asks for. If the games don’t come to Ontario’s capital next year, Getachew said he will resign his post as a member of the organizing committee of tournament.

The organizing team and other Torontonian Ethiopians told Tadias in June that it is about time their city hosted the soccer games. ESFNA must include Canada to live up to its name as a North American sports federation, they had said.

This week, the Ethiopian community in Ontario’s capital succeeded in having September officially recognized as Ethiopian Heritage Month by the City of Toronto.

ESFNA spokesperson Fassil Abebe said the delay is a result of some “unfinished business.” He said the federation is still seeking supporting documents from Toronto and Atlanta. He added that decision will be made by August 15. The organizing committee in Toronto has not been made aware of this date.

The last time Toronto hosted the games was in 2000 and Atlanta in 2005.

Support of the community to the sports, availability of a large stadium, closing venue and a member team are some of the criteria ESFNA is looking at. Abebe said he will not say what each city currently lacks.

Abebe also said the criticism that ESFNA excludes Canada despite its name does not hold. “There are cities [in the United States] that have never hosted the games,” he said. “Yes, it has been 10 years but Toronto has at least hosted the tournament twice.” He added that Calgary was one of the four non-member teams which competed to become a member in San Jose this year.

Endale Tufer, Atlanta’s tournament organizer said it is not the first time a delay is happening but he said he could not comment about the implications of the hold-up on Atlanta’s preparations.

Cover Image: At the 2010 San Jose Ethiopian Soccer Tournament by Kal Kassa.

About the Author:
Yeamrot Taddese is a journalism student at the University of Toronto, Canada. She is also a contributing reporter for Tadias Magazine.

Related from Tadias:
Photo Journal: San Jose Ethiopian Soccer Tournament 2010

Toronto Says It Has What It Takes to Host the Tournament

Photos from Chicago: Ethiopian Soccer Tournament 2009 (Tadias)

11 Responses to “Ethiopian Soccer Tournament: Delay to announce host city has Toronto organizers fed up”

  1. 1 Ermias Aug 13th, 2010 at 9:09 am

    What is the hold up? If not, Canada should split and start its own tournament. There is no reason why not…it is only fair.

  2. 2 Hiwi Aug 13th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Fairmon Royal York is one the best hotels in the city, right smack downtown, a Toronto landmark & not to mention the Queen stayed there during her recent visit. It’d be a shame if the delay costs us this venue … get to steppin you guys! :)

  3. 3 DJ Dereje Eshetu (Philly) Aug 13th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I agree with Fasil Abebe that there are many other cities besides Toronto that has not hosted the tournament, such as New York, the best city in the world, and Pilly, the next best City in the world. And of course for 2011 we have Atlanta, another great city in America, and Toronto, one of the best cities in the world!!! You can see who I am rooting for! But for real though, what makes a city a great city is its people. And one of the nicest people that I know live in Toronto. Young ladies and guys from the U.S., be prepared to meet some astonishing young Ethiopians in Toronto. If you keep your eyes open, it can be a life changing experience! Toronto has that effect on people.

    Having said that, however, talk of split (megentel), resignations are too premature. Don’t judge the outcome please. The jury is still out. In other words, as the saying goes: “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” Let ESFNA reach its verdict first, then you can start to vent on the specifics of the decision. This is the problem with we Abeshas. We pre-judge everything, everybody. They are good people trying to do something good for all of us. I am sure they are having serious internal debate while looking at various scenarios (pros and cons), etc. Please show some patience and give these guys the benefit of the doubt. I am really neutral. I don’t mind Atlanta, but I would love for it to be in Toronto, because I just feel it is the most responsible choice.

  4. 4 Tesfaye - Chicago Aug 13th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    It would be helpful to see the strong and weak points of the competing cities – who has what? And who does not have what?

  5. 5 mule Aug 15th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I vote for Philly

  6. 6 Samuel Getachew Aug 16th, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Hello Friends,

    We are still awaiting the decision and the federation’s mentioned Aug 15th deadline will not be met once again. But we thank you for your continued support and we hope the decision will be made “soon”.

  7. 7 Fassil Aug 17th, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Team officials both in Toronto and Atlanta are aware of why the decision has not been made yet. The Executive Committee has sent a letter to both teams and awating their reply. As soon as we receive that we will be able to make a decision.

    We appreciate your patience. Thank you.

    Fassil – Abebe
    ESFNA, PR Manager

  8. 8 Ethio Torontonian Aug 17th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you, Fassil, for the update… appreciate it. Hope the decision goes our way…its long time coming!


  9. 9 Nesi Aug 30th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I noticed that Fassil Abebe’s last comment was made two weeks ago. Does anyone know if a decision has been made now? Let’s hope for Toronto!

  10. 10 Dawit Teshome Sep 19th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Philly should win this time if they have not deicided already

  11. 11 hailu Nov 5th, 2010 at 3:07 am

    This is no brainier…The organizers are waiting for the best offer to come before they make a final decision. If Torontonians wants to organize the event, they got dish-out some cash to the organizers. In case you haven’t heard, money talks and it seals a deal.

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