Tourism Minister Lisa Beare (Hansard TV)

B.C. dropped from North America bid for World Cup soccer

Security, B.C. Place upgrade costs unknown, Tourism Minister Lisa Beare says

B.C. has been dropped from the Canada-U.S.-Mexico bid for the 2026 World Cup of soccer, after refusing to sign on to unknown costs.

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare confirmed Wednesday that B.C.’s application to include Vancouver in the bid was rejected, because the costs to the province could have been increased at any time. In particular there were “very serious concerns” about the agreement to use B.C. Place stadium to host games, including unknown security and renovation costs.

The bid committee wanted to give FIFA [the World Cup governing body] the ability to “unilaterally change the stadium agreement at any point,” Beare said. “We’re looking at possible stadium upgrade costs, the turf field that has to be in place. None of these concerns were addressed by the bid committee.”

North America is competing with Morocco to host the 2026 tournament, one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

B.C. Liberal MLA Jas Johal said it’s a setback for tourism that B.C. is the only province that couldn’t make a deal for the three-country bid.

“The former government worked hard with the City of Vancouver, sports organizations and the tourism sector to realize this opportunity,” Johal said. “British Columbians, who will now have to reserve a spot on the sofa instead of the stadium, deserve to know why the B.C. NDP bailed on a chance to market British Columbia to the world.”

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