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World Cup 2026: A Moment on the World Stage for Toronto 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

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2024 is here and Toronto, a global city is that much closer to playing a host city to a global event. The World Cup will be much celebrated, and many are anticipating Toronto’s lead-up to these games as the race to World Cup 2026 begins.

The Empire Club of Canada is honoured to host Victor Montagliani, the President of CONCACAF and Vice-President of FIFA to provide incredible insight on what this means for sport, for soccer and for Toronto.

CONCACAF is the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football. It is one of FIFA’s six continental confederations, servicing 41 Member Associations, from Canada in the north to Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana in the south. CONCACAF has a mission to develop, promote and manage football throughout the region with integrity, transparency, and passion in order to inspire participation in the game.

Please join us on February 1st, 2024 to get a close-up view, and firsthand knowledge at this exciting event celebrating The World Cup in Toronto with Victor Montagliani, one of soccer’s most senior administrators.

headshot of Giles Gherson

Giles Gherson

President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade

Giles Gherson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, one of the largest and most influential business organizations in North America. Giles leads the Board’s efforts to advocate on behalf of our members and enhance the business competitiveness of our Region. He is charged with leading the implementation of the Board’s new strategic plan to renew our mission as a catalyst for a vibrant, globally competitive Toronto Region business community.
Prior to joining the Board in 2022, Giles spent over 25 years in the private and public sector in progressively senior roles. He spent 15 years with the Province of Ontario, where he held multiple influential Deputy Minister roles – most extensively and recently as Deputy Minister, Economic Development. Previously, Giles has led the government’s economic growth and competitiveness policy, overseen the recent creation of two new agencies, Invest Ontario and IP Ontario, and worked to attract a wave of technology and manufacturing investments, including the retooling of the province’s auto sector for next generation battery electric vehicles. He currently sits on Ontario’s Advanced Manufacturing Council, working to boost the long-term competitiveness and resilience of this sector by attracting key investments and creating opportunities for businesses across the province.
Prior to his role in government, Giles worked as editor-in-chief of the Toronto Star, political editor of the National Post and editor of the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business. Giles is the immediate past President of the Board of Directors at the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, the country’s leading professional organization supporting excellence in the public sector.

headshot of Victor Montagliani

Victor Montagliani

President, CONCACAF and Vice-President, FIFA

With a lifelong commitment to football, as a player and administrator Victor Montagliani’s passion for the game has led him to become a leader within the sport. Montagliani was elected CONCACAF President and FIFA Vice President on May 12, 2016 in CONCACAF’s XXXI Ordinary Congress held in Mexico City, Mexico. He also serves as Chairman of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee.

Through his ONE CONCACAF Vision, Montagliani continues strengthening the foundations of the Confederation, while focusing on developing a professional and solid structure for its 41 Member Associations. With football at its core, the ONE CONCACAF Vision consists of four pillars to further growth the game, including: Good governance, successful strategic planning for competitions and commercial partnership, investment in football development and infrastructure, and solid leadership.

As part of this vision, his aim is to define the relationship with all associations and every member of the football community, by service and not by power.

Montagliani served as President of the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) until May 6, 2017. Through his leadership at the CSA, he brought efficiency and a corporate style to the Association. He chaired the National Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014™ and FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™. Montagliani played a key role in Canada’s bid for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, its execution and completion. As part of Canada Soccer’s Strategic Plan – A Leading Soccer Nation, Montagliani was instrumental in establishing the framework for a Canadian Premier League, which was approved at the Associaction’s Annual General Meeting in May 2017.

Adding to his experience within the game, he served as the CSA’s Vice-President, leading him to become the Association’s 33rd president.

Montagliani’s love for the game began as a child and evolved as he reached elite levels in Canada’s Vancouver’s Grandview Legion squad and the senior Columbus team. Due to an injury resulting from the game, Montagliani retired as a player, leading him to develop his business in the world of insurance. He is now a key member of a nationwide group of companies with two partners.

In addition to his vast knowledge and experience within the game, Montagliani has concluded studies in Political Science, Public Administration, French and Spanish.

Some of his major accolades within the game include:

Chairman of the Board of Directors of FIFA Ticketing AG (2017)
Chair of FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee (2017)
FIFA Reform Committee (2016)
CONCACAF Reform Committee (2015)
Member of the CONCACAF Council (Former Executive Committee, starting April 2013)
Former chair of the National Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014™ and FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™.
Member of the Local Organizing Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007
Member of the CONCACAF Gold Cup Organizing Committee
Member of the FIFA Legal Committee
National Futsal Team

On his passion for the game, Montagliani states: “Football is my life, I have spent my entire life with a football at my feet, in my mind, and in my heart. I am humble to serve CONCACAF while leading the evolution of the region’s game.