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World Cup soccer could come to Vancouver

Last Updated Aug 15, 2017 at 7:16 pm PST

(iStock Photo)
Summary

Vancouver is vying to be part of a joint bid by Canada, the US, and Mexico

If FIFA awards the tournament to North America, 10 matches will be held in Canada

A final decision on the competition is expected next June

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The City of Vancouver has announced it is one of the cities vying to be part of a joint bid by Canada, the US, and Mexico to host the FIFA 2026 World Cup.

Potential host cities include Vancouver, Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles.

President of the Vancouver Whitecaps — Bob Lenarduzzi — believes we have the fan base to make it a success.

“I think we’ve proven with the women’s world cup that the level of interest was through the roof. We played against Mexico in the world cup qualifying match last year, sold out of 55,000. The Whitecaps are averaging 22,000 plus.”

He admits he may be biased, but says renovations done at BC Place shortly after the Olympics have made a big difference.

“It’s essentially a brand new building, and it’s in the heart of the downtown, has all the amenities that would be required,” he says. However, Lenarduzzi believes Toronto’s renovated BMO Field could give Vancouver a run for its money. “That is a great soccer venue, and again with the expansion it allows for more people to attend.”

He adds Montreal’s Olympic stadium, the Commonwealth stadium in Edmonton, and Winnipeg’s Investors field are all great facilities as well, and would like to see as many Canadian cities benefit as possible.

If FIFA awards the tournament to North America, 10 matches will be held in Canada.

“The stadiums being submitted are all existing infrastructures,” says Michelle Collens, Vancouver’s Senior Manager of Sport Hosting. “The minimum requirement is 40,000 seats, so they do meet that requirement to be able to host a match and so, BC Place will definitely be the prime venue that Vancouver will be submitting.”

Speaking about the bid, Mayor Gregor Robertson points out Vancouver has previously hosted other international sporting events, such as the 2010 Winter Olympics, the HSBC Rugby World Sevens Series, and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Canadian soccer fans to show off the fantastic fan atmosphere we’ll be able to provide as a host city and be a significant boost to the economy and local businesses.”

Next month, a shortlist of cities that will be part of the bid will be announced, before the bid is submitted in March, 2018.

The only other country bidding for the event is Morocco. Collens says a final decision on the competition is expected next June.

“We would have a definite advantage. However, I do think it’s healthy for us to have the competition and for Morocco to put up their hand and it will keep us definitely on our toes.”