Canada to co-host 2026 World Cup without B.C. involvement

U.S., Mexico will be other co-hosts

The cost to host games at B.C. place was unclear so the B.C. government decided not to risk taxpayer money | BIV files

The international football association FIFA’s member associations voted 134-65 on June 13 in favour of a joint North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup, beating the only other bid, from Morocco.

One vote was cast against both bids.

Canada and Mexico are expected to host 10 games each, with the U.S. hosting 60, including all games from the quarter-finals onward. The 2026 World Cup is set to be the first to have 48 teams involved.

Three Canadian cities are in the running to host games: Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. That shortlist of potential host cities was whittled down from a list of seven Canadian cities that originally expressed interest – a list that also included Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Regina. 

FIFA will select up to 16 host cities from the 23 candidate cities that are part of the North American bid.

Vancouver in March was not accepted to be part of the North American bid because the B.C. government would not accept FIFA’s requirements for host cities.

Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture Lisa Beare said at the time that it was unacceptable for the province to not have certainty from FIFA on how much hosting games would cost.

She said that FIFA was requiring the province to bear “unknown costs and unknown risks to the B.C. taxpayers.”

On June 13, after the successful North American bid was announced, Beare said she is happy for Canadian soccer fans but had no regrets on taking the stance that she did.

“I am happy for Canadian soccer fans that some of the World Cup matches are coming to Canadian host cities,” she said.

“The FIFA bid agreement contained clauses, which [the B.C.] government felt left taxpayers at unacceptable risk of additional costs. We tried very hard to get assurances that addressed our concerns. Unfortunately, those assurances were not forthcoming.”

Canada is guaranteed to have a team in the 2026 World Cup on the basis of it being one of the host nations.

The 2018 World Cup starts tomorrow, June 14.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom