Chicago and Minneapolis join Vancouver as FIFA World Cup drop outs

Mar 15 2018, 11:56 pm

If misery loves company, then you’ll love this, Vancouver.

Two more cities have said no to FIFA, dropping out of consideration as a 2026 World Cup host city.

They’re not insignificant ones, either, as Chicago and Minneapolis said no on Wednesday and Thursday. I think you’ll find their reasons sound familiar.

“FIFA could not provide a basic level of certainty on some major unknowns that put our city and taxpayers at risk,” Chicago’s mayor’s office said in a statement Wednesday. “The uncertainty for taxpayers, coupled with FIFA’s inflexibility and unwillingness to negotiate, were clear indications that further pursuit of the bid wasn’t in Chicago’s best interests.”

Chicago, host of the opening game of the 1994 World Cup, is also the home of USA Soccer. Like Vancouver, they were a shoo-in to host games.

“While we believe that Minneapolis is well-prepared to host this premier international event, the inability to negotiate the terms of various agreements – in order to provide sufficient protections from future liabilities – led to the suspension of the bid,” Sports Minneapolis said in a news release.

These are echoing the thoughts of BC’s government, who decided to pull Vancouver from contention. That may not make things any easier to stomach though, as most observers view hosting the largest sporting event in the world as an easy economic win for the city – despite the bizarre uncertainty FIFA has provided.

That includes Vancouver’s municipal government, which released this statement on Wednesday:

“The City is extremely disappointed that Vancouver’s bid to be a FIFA 2026 World Cup Host City is currently not being considered as we believe hosting the biggest sporting event on earth would have offered significant economic benefits. Vancouver remains a city with an exceptional sports hosting history and we look forward to working with the Province and our Sport Hosting Vancouver team to identify future international sporting events that bring positive economic and cultural impact to Vancouver.”

The United Bid will go ahead without these three cities, in an attempt to bring the World Cup back to North America for the first time in 32 years. The World Cup will be awarded to either the joint North American bid or Morocco in June.

While the World Cup actually has a higher profile than the Winter Olympics around the world, it’s far easier to manage for a host city. Vancouver would have likely held up to five soccer matches at one already-built venue, far different to the logistical nightmare that faced out city in 2010.

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