British Columbia

B.C. confirms it's no longer part of the 2026 FIFA World Cup bid

British Columbia is at odds with a bid to bring the FIFA World Cup games to North America.

Government says FIFA wants the province to cover financial liabilities, unlike the 2015 Women's World Cup

BC Place was the host for the finals of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Vancouver Whitecaps)

British Columbia has confirmed it is no longer on the short list of potential host sites for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare says the province doesn't agree with the terms to host the games in 2026 put forward by the bid committee, representing Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

The bid would have seen Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal hosting 10 games during the World Cup, if the North American bid were to be chosen over the Moroccan bid by FIFA later this year. 

BC Place, where the Vancouver games would be held, is owned by the provincial government.

Beare says the bid committee rejected requests to clarify how much the province would be expected to contribute to the cost of hosting.

"We were negotiating with the bid committee to try and address those concerns. The bid committee was unable to ... give us the answers we needed, and so they rejected our bid this morning [Wednesday]," she said. 

Beare said the bid committee's terms included FIFA being able to unilaterally change the stadium agreement at any point.

She also said that in the 2015 Women's World Cup, which was hosted by Canada with the finals at BC Place, the Canada Soccer Association was responsible for indemnities but, in the World Cup, it would be up to the province. 

"We're looking at the security costs, those haven't been addressed. We're looking at possible stadium upgrade costs, the turf field that has to be in place. None of those concerns were addressed by the bid committee," said Beare. 

The federal government threw its support behind the committee Tuesday, with a promise of $5 million in immediate help if the bid wins, and Beare said B.C. remained open to hosting some of the games if its requests to clarify financial obligations are met.

Requests for comment to the Canadian Soccer Association were not immediately returned.

The City of Vancouver confirmed itssupport for the bid in January.

In a statement issued Wednesday, it said it was "extremely disappointed"  the bid was no longer being considered but would continue working with the B.C. government to find future international sporting events that could come to the city. 

With files from Canadian Press


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