VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There’s still a long way to go, but Vancouver is now a tiny step closer to hosting World Cup soccer in 2026.
The federal government has officially thrown its support behind North America’s bid to host the games. That includes a promise of up to $5 million in immediate help, should Canada, the US, and Mexico actually win the bid.
Vancouver is one of four Canadian candidate cities, and we could see up to five games played here during the tournament.
Bob Lenarduzzi played for Canada the only time we qualified for a men’s World Cup in 1986. He’s now the president of the Vancouver Whitecaps. He says even though soccer isn’t exactly known as Canada’s game, Vancouver proved in 2015 that the appetite for world class soccer is there.
“The Women’s World Cup was one that I don’t think there were a lot of expectations, in terms of the level of interest and what actually took place was far beyond, I think, anyone’s expectations.”
Lenarduzzi says that tournament, in addition to the Olympics in 2010, has proved that Vancouver can successfully host the biggest events on the planet.
“Every World Cup that comes and goes, I marvel at the level of interest even in Vancouver, and the fact that Canada aren’t in it, you’d have to be living in a cave to not know the World Cup is taking place.”
Lenarduzzi says hosting a men’s World Cup would be a huge opportunity for the city, the province, and the country.
Morocco is the only other bidder for the 2026 event. We’ll find out who wins on June 13th.