Edmonton city councillor welcomes federal support for 2026 FIFA World Cup

Edmonton is closer to co-hosting the 2026 FIFA Men's World Cup tournament, after the federal government announced Tuesday it will support the joint bid.

Ottawa pledges $5M if the unified Canada-Mexico-U.S. bid wins

Edmonton has a successful track record in hosting FIFA events, including the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and both U20 events in years past. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Hosting the 2026 FIFA Men's World Cup would be a great opportunity great chance to show Edmonton's diversity to the world, an Edmonton city councillor says.

The announcement comes just months before the decision of which country host the tournament, which is between Morocco and a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the United States.

With the federal government pledging $5 million to support Canada's part in the bid, Edmonton could be one of four Canadian cities to host games during the tournament. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal round out the other cities interested in hosting.

Edmonton is the only city currently without a professional soccer team. Host cities aren't expected to be finalized until 2021, but the federal support was welcome news at city hall Tuesday. 

"We're great at hosting events, as you saw this weekend with Crashed Ice," Coun. Michael Walters said Tuesday. "I think the World Cup would not only showcase our youth and our vibrancy but our incredible diversity as well."

Edmonton council voted Jan. 23 to move ahead with its part in the bid after debating the pros and cons of hosting the games.

"I think there's a lot of people in Edmonton who don't want to break the bank to have an event like this," Walters said. But for the right price, the opportunity to show off Edmonton to the world is too good to pass up.

Edmonton co-hosted the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, which injected an estimated $48 million into the local economy.

The cost for the 2026 men's tournament is not known yet, but a January report presented to council estimated it could cost anywhere from $35 million to $55 million. That report suggested it could bring in more than $200 million in economic impact.

Council argued that hosting the event could benefit the city in the future, including receiving provincial and federal help to spruce up Commonwealth Stadium.

FIFA is expected to announce the winning bid on June 13.