The Commonwealth Stadium is located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It opened prior to the 1978 Commonwealth games which gave it its present name.
It is the largest open-air stadium in Canada with a capacity of 56,302 people. It is primarily used by the Edmonton Eskimos that play in the Canadian Football League. It was the only venue with natural grass in the Canadian Football League till 2010, when FieldTurf was introduced.
The stadium was conceptualised for the 1978 Commonwealth Games and its construction began three years prior, in 1975. There were several plans proposed during the construction of the stadium, and the major conflict was regarding the building of a dome.
It was decided that the dome would be built after the Commonwealth Games. Since 1978, the stadium has had several renovations, some sponsored by the Eskimos themselves.
Canadian Soccer Association generally hosts its national games at the Commonwealth Stadium.
The Canadian Soccer team has played nine FIFA World Cup Qualification games and five friendlies at the stadium. The Canadian Soccer Association organises the Canada Cup, a three- or four-way international friendly football tournament. All games of this tournament were hosted at the commonwealth stadium.
This happened in 1995 and 1999 it featured teams like Ecuador, Chile and Northern Ireland, Iran and Guatemala. It has also hosted the 2002 FIFA Women’s U-19 World Cup and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Most importantly, it hosted matches in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup between June and July.
Several Inuit communities have demanded a change of the name of the Edmonton Eskimos, the main tenets of the Commonwealth Stadium. These demands have further been validated by the local government which has sparked a major controversy, which is highlighted during the team’s home games.
The disagreement between the club’s management and the local authorities can be noticed during the course of the football game.
On 1st July, 2015 the Commonwealth stadium hosted the semi-finals of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup where Japan pulled off an upset by defeating England 2-1.
This was the second time in this tournament that Japan bested their opponents in the stadium, as they won the quarterfinals 1-0 against Australia.
The stadium is seen as a potential host for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, if Canada, Mexico and the United States are chosen to co-host the event.