BC had opt out clauses until 2021 for FIFA World Cup in Vancouver

Mar 16 2018, 1:17 pm

It turns out the BC NDP provincial government had some flexibility in its potential contract with FIFA that would have allowed Vancouver to put its foot in the door until 2021 for any potential responsibility to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, should the United Bid Committee succeed with its bid against Morocco this summer.

According to TSN’s Farhan Lalji, all bid cities in North America’s three-nation proposal had opt out clauses until 2021, and most of the money on planning the tournament in 2026 would not have been spent until after that.

“They (the provincial government) could have stayed in the conversation and if projections then looked too high, they could have still pulled out,” said Lalji in a tweet.

This is because the United Bid Committee has long stated it is offering FIFA a preliminary list of 20 to 25 cities in its final bid package, which is up to double the number of cities FIFA is looking for as official host cities. The precise number for the package, announced yesterday ahead of FIFA’s bid submission deadline at the end of this week, is 23 cities.

If the North American bid is selected, between 12 and 16 cities from the pool of 23 cities will be chosen in 2021 as the tournament’s official host cities. Only then will planning for the World Cup accelerate to the local level and pass the point of no return.

The BC NDP government took issue with contracts over its perceived uncertainties about the costs, potential stadium changes – like a new temporary grass field – and security.

In a separate report by Global News, a senior official with Canada Soccer, one of three national soccer federations involved in the United Bid Committee, expressed their frustration with the Vancouver bid debacle by saying “negotiating with the BC NDP is like negotiating with the Beverly Hillbillies.”

Although Vancouver was the first to pull out its bid, it is not alone. Shortly after the BC NDP government’s decision, Chicago and Minneapolis joined Vancouver in dropping out of the race over similar concerns.

On Thursday, the Alberta NDP provincial government also said it could not support Edmonton’s bid, citing reasons that parallel BC. The difference was this decision was not fatal to the bid by Alberta’s capital city. Commonwealth Stadium is owned by the pro-bid municipal government, unlike BC Place Stadium which is owned by the BC provincial government.

Officials with the City of Vancouver said they were “extremely disappointed” with the BC NDP government’s decision.

Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal are the remaining Canadian cities in the running, with two or three of these cities splitting the 10 matches allotted for Canada.

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