VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The provincial government is insisting it really wanted Vancouver to be part of the North American bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and it’s defending the claim there was too much uncertainty about the cost associated with one of the world’s biggest sporting event.
Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and a former Olympian, says BC wasn’t even told how many games the city would have.
“So, if FIFA comes back and says, ‘you know, you got to change the seating, we need the sponsorship stuff gone, we need more parking space. I mean, essentially, anything that they request — we would be liable for.”
He points to security as one example of something Victoria would be on the hook for and he adds it’s tough to gauge costs. “I appreciate the federal government said, ‘we’re going to put $5 million in for the whole entire thing, maybe $1 million-something for BC if we were to get the games anyway, but that’s just a small fraction of the costs associated with it.”
The province owns BC Place, and would have been on the hook for a portion of the cost for things like security, parking, and modifications to the playing surface, had Vancouver been selected. He insisted taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for unknown costs because of FIFA.
Kahlon says multiple letters were written to the United Bid Committee, but he adds the province simply stopped getting answers.
Yesterday, our sister station Sportsnet 650 broke the story that Vancouver missed the deadline, and that Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton would be among the Canadian cities under consideration for the 2026 World Cup.
Canada, Mexico and the US are up against Morocco to host the tournament, with a final decision expected on June 13th.