If you thought BC would be overcome with a serious case of FOMO after North America won the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup – without Vancouver’s involvement – you are mistaken.
According to a new poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, BC residents are supportive of the government’s decision to pull out of the race.
British Columbians are firmly behind the BC NDP’s decision, with 68% of residents polled saying the government made the right decision, and that hosting the tournament wasn’t worth the cost.
Just 16% of those participants said the government made the wrong decision.
This poll, which included multiple World Cup related questions, was conducted through an online survey from June 25-27, among a representative randomized sample of 1,268 Canadian adults, including 183 BC residents for the above graph, who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by the Angus Reid Institute, a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation.
The BC government cited concerns over unpredictable costs, with Premier John Horgan comparing FIFA’s demands to writing a “blank cheque.”
“So far, the bid committee has rejected our requests to clarify how much British Columbians could be expected to contribute,” said Lisa Beare, BC’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, back in March. “And they have declined to negotiate with the province regarding the concerns we raised.”
“We weren’t prepared to write a blank cheque, we’re still not prepared to write a blank cheque for a soccer tournament that would not guarantee a specific number of games, would not guarantee the duration of the closing of BC Place, and would not give us a final dollar figure,” Horgan reiterated last month.
FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani, who is from Vancouver, recently expressed his displeasure with the decision of his home province to pull out.
“They can say whatever they want, but from a pure administrative and executive level it was a poor decision,” Montagliani told the Toronto Sun.
“They had assurances. If things weren’t to their liking from a documentation standpoint [they could have walked away by 2020].
“The reality is they paid no attention to the file. They put a junior person on the file. They didn’t pay attention until the 11th hour.
“What bothers me is the Premier of my own province didn’t have the courtesy of picking up the phone to speak with someone who was born and raised in that city to say, ‘Listen, what’s really going on here?’”
Harsh words indeed.
Perhaps part of the reason that British Columbians are supportive of the Premier’s decision is FIFA’s reputation as a corrupt organization.
Even among those that said they were interested or very interested in the World Cup, expressed worry that FIFA corruption influences the outcomes of games at this year’s tournament.