BC at odds with terms put forward by World Cup bid committee

BC at odds with terms put forward by World Cup bid committee

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson is reaffirming the city's support for a bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup despite concerns from Premier John Horgan about what it could do to the province's bottom line.

According to the minister, the committee has so far rejected the province's requests for clarification on costs and declined to negotiate with the province.

Canada, Mexico and the US are up against Morocco to host the men's tournament, with a decision coming in June.

"I think they have to be responsible as well, and understand that as much as we'd love to see world-class soccer come to B.C., it's not at any cost".

Victor Montagliani, the B.C. -based president of CONCACAF, the regional governing body for soccer, and a member of the United 2026 committee, declined to comment on Vancouver's status but said he expected the final list of North American candidate cities would be released on Thursday.

"I'm disappointed to hear that the bid to bring the 2026 World Cup to Vancouver will not be proceeding.", he said in a statement Wednesday. Their unified bid has to be submitted by the end of the week, and FIFA's decision is expected in mid-June.

If the bid is successful, and Vancouver is selected as a host city, BC Place could host as many as five games during the tournament. "This is of course something fans would be looking forward to, but we have to take a look at all the opportunities surrounding it and all the risks surrounding it".

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"The minister should now provide all the facts as to why the B.C. NDP was unable to reach an agreement to participate in this unprecedented chance to promote the province", he said.

Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the province and United 2026 "couldn't agree to terms that would put British Columbians at risk of shouldering potentially huge and unpredictable costs".

"I hold no bitterness and I'm not close enough to the process to know what held (the B.C. government) back", he said.

"There's also an expectation that city services outside of the outer security perimeter that will surround B.C. Place for the competition venue will be provided by the City of Vancouver", said Michelle Collens, the city's manager of sport hosting, who outlined the bid process to council in a January 30 presentation.

"We're still in contact with the bid committee", she said. The bid could still go forward, but without Vancouver as a host city.

"That is concerning because there's been many months, even years, put into this proposal and this project and at the last minute, to pull out like that, speaks to me about a government in disarray", said Liberal MLA Jas Johal.

With precision timing just as bid books are to be presented to FIFA, Canada's government has officially thrown its support behind the North American bid for the 2026 World Cup.

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