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Vancouver out despite being awarded a 2026 World Cup host spot

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Why Vancouver will be on the sidelines for the 2026 World Cup

B.C. government axed city's participation, citing concerns about unilateral contract changes

Mike Laanela · CBC News · Posted: Jun 13, 2018 9:34 AM PT | Last Updated: 5 hours ago
 
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The fact BC Place won't be hosting any World Cup matches in 2026 is 'extremely disappointing' to Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi. (Vancouver Whitecaps)
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The 2026 World Cup is coming to Canada, FIFA announced today — but Vancouver will be watching from the sidelines.

That's because B.C.'s NDP government decided not to support the city's efforts to be part of the bid involving cities across Canada, U.S. and Mexico, citing concerns over the possible costs of being a host.

In March, Tourism Minister Lisa Beare said the province didn't agree with the terms to host World Cup games put forward by the committee for the joint North American bid.

 

One of the first to criticize that decision on Wednesday morning was B.C. Liberal MLA Michelle Stillwell, who said that the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2010 Winter Olympics have shown that international sporting events have provided benefits for B.C.

 

Talk about fumbling a ball! US, Mexico and #Canada have been awarded the 2026 World Cup. Fantastic for all except the BC NDP pulled #Vancouver out of the bid so now B.C. misses their once in a lifetime opportunity to host the world class event. #fail
#bcpoli

 
 

"We can't just look at the infrastructure that was built: it's the long-term legacy, it's the inspiration, it's the community development, it's the volunteerism," Stilwell said.

"It's the money that comes from all the tourists who would come and spend their dollars in Vancouver and around B.C. and stay and visit and enjoy everything B.C. has to offer."

When asked about concerns around FIFA's demands of host cities, she accused the province of "forfeiting the game" by not negotiating a better deal from the international soccer body.

Lenarduzzi 'extremely' disappointed

Likewise, Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi says he's gutted his city won't be hosting any games. 

However, the former star of the national soccer team is still overjoyed the event is coming to Canada.

"I think the most important thing is that Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have the World Cup. Being a part of 2026 will be hugely significant," Lenarduzzi said on Wednesday morning.

"As far as us not having the potential to be one of these host venues, that is extremely disappointing. From a personal point of view, the opportunity to see a World Cup game in Vancouver would have been great."

 
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Despite the disappointment of not being able to see a World Cup game in Vancouver, Lenarduzzi said the fact Canada will automatically qualify in 2026 is hugely significant. (Whitecaps FC)

Lenarduzzi stopped short of criticizing the government's decision to pull out of the bid.

"I'm not privy to the decision-making process from the provincial government's perspective," he said.

Unilateral changes rejected

Beare issued a short response on Wednesday morning.

"Our government has a responsibility to ensure that B.C. taxpayers are not on the hook for hidden costs. The province carefully assesses all sports events for value to taxpayers," she said.

"The FIFA bid agreement contained clauses which the government felt left taxpayers at unacceptable risk of additional costs. We tried very hard to get assurances regarding our concerns. Unfortunately, those assurances were not forthcoming."

 
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Cities in line to host games during the 2026 World Cup include Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Cincinnati, Boston, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico City. (CBC News)

Previously, Beare said those concerns included FIFA being able to unilaterally change the stadium agreement at any point.

The City of Vancouver originally supported the bid, but some others did not. Chicago and Minneapolis also withdrew, citing worries similar to the B.C. government's.

Great for Canada

Lenarduzzi, who was on the last Canadian men's team to play in a World Cup, in 1986, said one of the big wins is the automatic berth the national team now has in 2026.

"It meant a lot then — but the profile of the World Cup at that time is nowhere near what it is now and will be in 2026," he said.

 
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The Canadian team that secured qualification for the nation's first ever World Cup in 1986. (Canada Soccer / Flickr)

For today's young stars — like Vancouver Whitecaps' 17-year-old Alphonso Davies — that will be huge.

"By 2026 he'll be in his mid-20s. Look how much he has got to look forward to," Lenarduzzi said.

Whitecaps star made final appeal

Davies was part of the final presentation by the North American bid team at the FIFA Congress in Moscow this morning.

He told the congress how much playing for Canada would mean to him.

His parents fled their home in Monrovia, Liberia, to escape a civil war, he said, and they ended up at a refugee camp in Ghana, where Davies was born.

 
alphonso-davies.jpg
Vancouver Whitecaps' Alphonso Davies, centre, was part of the North American bid committee's presentation to FIFA. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)

"It was a hard life. But when I was five years old, a country called Canada welcomed us in," he said. "And the boys on the football team made me feel at home.

 

"... My dream is to some day compete in the World Cup, maybe even in my home town of Edmonton.

"The people of North America have always welcomed me. If given the opportunity, I know they will welcome you," he said.

With files from Liam Britten

 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/why-vancouver-will-be-on-the-sidelines-for-the-2026-world-cup-1.4704024

 

 

Blah...I don't even know what to say other than, how could the BC government NOT make this work, somehow?

Edited by Drive-By Body Pierce
Title Change

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talk about a missed opportunity.

we can host the Olympics, but not for a handful of world cup games. 

 

i went to the women's world cup at BC place few yrs ago, and it was nicely done. 

 

at least fans can go to Seattle and stimulate their economy.  

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Posted (edited)

BRAIN DEAD POLITICIANS HERE . . .   THAT is all I can say.   I don't even like soccer and I don't even understand the game.   WELL guess what my friend and I bought the entire package to go to the FIFA Women's when it was here and we had THE BEST TIME EVER . . .   THANK U BC Politicians for NOTHING . . . 

 

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Edited by Fanaholic

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1. I understand why the provincial government didn't want to accept the terms and conditions that FIFA presented to them

2. It still sucks that the World Cup likely won't be coming to Vancouver

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1 minute ago, Silky mitts said:

Thanks ndp

Its too bad Weaver wasn't a soccer fan instead of Rugby. Wasted opportunity to showcase Vancouver, but thats what you get with governments on certain parts of the spectrum. 

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Just now, Warhippy said:

I live outside of Vancouver.  The estimate is between $25 and $50 million per event in security costs and hosting fees alone.

 

My tax dollars would have gone to host this event that would have done nothing for me or my family.  Our government would have been on the hook for any hidden fees without any actual guarantee of hosting a single game due to the movement clause.

 

Look outside of your fandom for a moment and understand why that is important

meh, I live in Vancouver and tax dollars from here go to support things in the interior. Thats not a great argument. 

 

Its a missed opportunity for global attention.

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I've got ZERO problems with this.  

NDP wanted assurances that FIFA wouldn't screw them, and actually honor any and all agreements in principle - no agreement, no deal, simple.  

 

FIFA,  much like the IOC think they OWN local,  provincial and federal governments and I'm perfectly ok with our government showing them they don't own BC taxpayers. 

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1 minute ago, Fanuck said:

I've got ZERO problems with this.  

NDP wanted assurances that FIFA wouldn't screw them, and actually honor any and all agreements in principle - no agreement, no deal, simple.  

 

FIFA,  much like the IOC think they OWN local,  provincial and federal governments and I'm perfectly ok with our government showing them they don't own BC taxpayers. 

and.... so we get nothing. Its too easy to get carried away with the risk side of these things, we did just fine with similar agreements with the IOC, and all the other cities were just fine with it. We're the outlier. 

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7 minutes ago, Jimmy McGill said:

meh, I live in Vancouver and tax dollars from here go to support things in the interior. Thats not a great argument. 

 

Its a missed opportunity for global attention.

Vancouver is a wild class city they say.  Why do they need attention?  They're not a 20 year old girl on instagram

 

I don't want to see a government writing blank cheques to private agencies.  Like it or not that's why they said no and rightfully so.

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Jimmy McGill said:

and.... so we get nothing. Its too easy to get carried away with the risk side of these things, we did just fine with similar agreements with the IOC, and all the other cities were just fine with it. We're the outlier. 

So what?  We get nothing.  We're exactly where we were yesterday.  Nothing to whine about, we didn't waste or gain anything.

 

Edit*. Important to remember, that at ANY time venues can change.  The US gets 60+ matches and Canada and Mexico are already fighting for more.  Top say Vancouver won't see a game as of yet is a shade shortsighted for an event that is almost a decade away

Edited by Warhippy

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Just now, Warhippy said:

Vancouver is a wild class city they say.  Why do they need attention?  They're not a 20 year old girl on instagram

 

I don't want to see a government writing blank cheques to private agencies.  Like it or not that's why they said no and rightfully so.

Sure, it was their call. You're fine with it, I think its a massive missed opportunity. Its not like the largest sporting event in the world is something you get to be part of every year. 

 

As far as attention goes, its a big world, of course you need to continue showcase Vancouver, nothing happens on its own.

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3 minutes ago, Warhippy said:

So what?  We get nothing.  We're exactly where we were yesterday.  Nothing to whine about, we didn't waste or gain anything.

 

Edit*. Important to remember, that at ANY time venues can change.  The US gets 60+ matches and Canada and Mexico are already fighting for more.  Top say Vancouver won't see a game as of yet is a shade shortsighted for an event that is almost a decade away

No we are not. We have lost an opportunity. 

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1 minute ago, Jimmy McGill said:

Sure, it was their call. You're fine with it, I think its a massive missed opportunity. Its not like the largest sporting event in the world is something you get to be part of every year. 

 

As far as attention goes, its a big world, of course you need to continue showcase Vancouver, nothing happens on its own.

Crowdfund it then.  Enough crying footy fans ponying up the dough will get it paid for I am sure

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Just now, Jimmy McGill said:

No we are not. We have lost an opportunity. 

No we haven't.  Still almost 9 years away.  The matches have yet to be drawn as have the venues.  Crying for the sake of crying is shortsighted and silly.

 

An opportunity missed?  Hardly.  

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Posted (edited)

"The NDP wastes taxpayer money. They don't know how to balance a budget".

 

*NDP refuses to make risky financial decision by dealing with an organization known for mis-spending money*

 

"Stupid commies, get out the pitchforks, etc."

 

I love how people simultaneously say that (1) this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase Vancouver and (2) it is only a few games, what's the big deal.

 

If it is only a few games and not really a big deal, is it really a missed once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Would it really boost Vancouver's exposure that much beyond what it is like currently?

 

It is also silly to think that, of the major NA cities, why would Vancouver be given premier games? East coast is more favorable/avoids more timezone issues. 

Edited by Down by the River
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