British Columbia

FIFA 2026: Council to decide if Vancouver will move forward with bid

City council will decide on Tuesday if Vancouver will continue in the FIFA 2026 Men's World Cup bidding process. So far, Vancouver has been chosen as one of four Canadian cities in the joint North American bid.

Vancouver has been chosen as 1 of 4 Canadian cities in joint North American bid

If Vancouver's bid for the FIFA 2026 Men's World Cup is successful, the games would be held at B.C. Place. (City of Vancouver)

City council will decide on Tuesday if Vancouver will continue in the FIFA 2026 Men's World Cup bidding process. 

So far, Vancouver has been chosen as one of four Canadian cities in the joint North American bid, which includes the U.S. and Mexico. The other three Canadian cities are Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. 

If the bid is successful, Vancouver would host three to five games.

According to a staff report for council, each host city stands to net $90 million to $480 million in economic activity.

Estimated costs for Vancouver are between $10 million and $20 million, depending on the scope of the Fan Fest, and the city would be responsible for yet to be determined city services.

But for Michelle Collens, the city's senior manager of sport hosting, the bid presents a unique opportunity for the "spirit and excitement" of hosting a global event.

"To have that in our backyard, it's pretty exciting," Collens said. "And we all know soccer is a favourite among everybody."

The United Bid Committee has to submit its bid to FIFA by March 16. FIFA is scheduled to announce the host by June 13 of this year, but won't recommend the 12 to 16 official host cities until June 30, 2020. 

Fewer obligations than 2010 Olympics

Collens said the the city's obligations would differ significantly from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

For one, there wouldn't be a local organizing committee for the event. Also, FIFA would be responsible for ticketing and providing accommodations for the athletes. 

Vancouver's responsibilities as a host city would be to provide event and training venues, the FIFA Fan Fest zone for the 30 days of the World Cup, and security for public spaces. 

The staff report notes that the city has already been in talks with the provincial and federal governments to cover security costs.

Morocco the only competing bid

Collens thinks Vancouver has a pretty good shot at the bid, given that the city already has the facilities in place.

And she thinks the tri-country bid between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico — a first in the history of the World Cup, she said — also is a strong contender. 

Morocco is the only other location that has announced it will also bid to host the 2026 World Cup. 

The 2026 World Cup is open to bids only from the Americas, Africa, and Oceania. Europe and Asia were ineligible because those continents will host the next two World Cups, in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

A country that hosts the World Cup automatically qualifies to play in the tournament. The one and only time Canada has qualified for the World Cup was in 1986. 

With files from Karin Larsen, Belle Puri and The Canadian Press

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maryse Zeidler

@MaryseZeidler

Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at maryse.zeidler@cbc.ca.

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