Sports

Vancouver 'still game' for World Cup bid despite cost concerns

Vancouver 'still game' for World Cup bid despite cost concerns

News of Vancouver's loss of the bid came the day after Kirsty Duncan, the federal minister of sport and persons with disabilities, announced the federal government's "support in principle" to host the world's best soccer players in Canada. "It's a great opportunity, as we know, but it also comes with potential risks, so we're taking a look at those risks", Lisa Beare told reporters in Victoria Tuesday. "That adds unknown costs and unknown risks to B.C. taxpayers", she said, noting security and other costs had still not been worked out between governments and the bid committee.

The federal government officially threw its support behind the North American bid for the 2026 World Cup on Tuesday, with the promise of up to $5 million in immediate help should the unified bid win.

Canada, the US and Mexico are up against Morocco to host the world's most widely viewed sporting event. It's expected Canada would host 10 games, likely at two cities, if the bid was successful. "We are behind this bid". "Vancouver remains a city with an exceptional sports hosting history and we look forward to working with the province and our Sport Hosting Vancouver team to identify future worldwide sporting events that bring positive economic and cultural impact to Vancouver".

A spokesperson for Soccer Canada couldn't say whether B.C. had missed any internal deadline.

Horgan, however, said joining the bid is still an option and the province is in talks to find a solution that would see the handsome game come to BC Place in 2026.

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"The prospect of hosting the FIFA World Cup is exciting for soccer fans, and has the potential to bring significant economic and cultural benefits to British Columbia", Beare said in a statement on Wednesday.

In a statement Wednesday, the city said it's "extremely disappointed that Vancouver's bid to be a Federation Internationale de Football Association 2026 World Cup Host City is now not being considered as we believe hosting the biggest sporting event on earth would have offered significant economic benefits". "While we support the prospect of hosting the World Cup, we can not agree to terms that would put British Columbians at risk of shouldering potentially huge and unpredictable costs". "I'm not prepared to sign off on that", he said.

"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.

But Horgan said the responsibility was on higher bodies to ensure that B.C. wouldn't be on the hook if the budget expanded.

Beare said the doors to B.C. Place Stadium will remain open to hosting 2026 World Cup games, but only if the bid committee reconsiders its demands and provides the province with more cost certainty. The bid could still go forward, but without Vancouver as a host city.


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