Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup in South Africa June 11 to July 11.
Call it soccer, football or footie, this game is the most popular sport in the world and one of the most popular in Canada. The FIFA World Cup is the most widely watched sporting event in the world. Seven hundred and fifteen million people watched the tournament in 2006.
Sadly our Canadian team did not qualify for 2010, so young players, get ready for 2014. It will be Canada's turn. Instead I will cheer this year for my country of birth, South Africa, the first African nation to ever host the World Cup.
The World Cup is a celebration of athletic participation and excellence and, most important, it displays the world's cultural diversity. Through sport, our young people grow healthier, our communities grow stronger and the nations of the world grow closer.
As the Liberal critic for amateur sport, I invite parliamentarians to join me in wishing all the competing teams and players in South Africa the very best of luck.