Horgan: FIFA won't ask Vancouver for "the sea and the sky" for World Cup

Jul 20 2021, 3:33 am

BC Premier John Horgan is sounding pretty optimistic about Vancouver’s chances to host multiple games at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Six days after revealing that the province had returned to the bargaining table with FIFA, Horgan provided additional detail about Vancouver’s candidacy as a World Cup host city in an interview on Sportsnet 650 today.

“I did have a meeting with a representative from FIFA, and we had a good discussion. The situation for them has changed, and for the world, quite frankly,” Horgan told hosts Mike Halford and Jason Brough.

The BC government pulled the plug on Vancouver’s involvement in the World Cup in March of 2018, with Horgan saying at the time that FIFA wanted a “blank cheque.” Horgan says he was approached by a FIFA representative within the past four months, and certainly the conversation went much better than it did three years ago.

“FIFA will not be looking for the sea and the sky in their ask from host cities,” Horgan said. “So I think the negotiation is in a better place, and I’m pretty excited about it. I know sports fans in British Columbia will be as well. But it’s not a blank cheque. There were some pretty outrageous demands back in 2018, that [if] they’re still on the table then we’re not going to make a lot of progress. But we’re in conversation. I think that’s a good thing.”

The Premier said that FIFA first expressed interest in hosting “a couple” of games in Vancouver, but that is no longer the case.

“We’ll get more than a couple of games I expect,” he said.

It remains to be seen how many Canadian cities will get to host World Cup games. Vancouver, Toronto, and Edmonton are still in the running, after Montreal pulled out earlier this month. Canada is set to host 10 matches, with 60 matches going to the United States and 10 to Mexico.

FIFA could opt to reduce venues to two, or select all three.

“Security is an issue that we want to be discussing with the federal government. And of course, if we see fewer and fewer Canadian cities participating, that’ll be a bigger cost.”

While Horgan said there wasn’t a set timeline, FIFA stated earlier this month that the plan is to visit venues from September to November this year, with the goal of finalizing selections in Q1/Q2 of 2022.

Negotiations haven’t begun, Horgan said, but he sounds hopeful this time around.

“I think there’s been some changes in their governance and how they operate — that’ll be helpful in negotiations.”

World Cup candidate host cities

The 2026 World Cup will be the first time the tournament expands to 48 countries.

This will be Canada’s first time hosting the tournament. The United States has hosted once before, in 1994. Mexico has hosted twice, in 1970 and 1986.

There are officially 22 candidate host cities left for the North American hosted tournament, with Vancouver a likely addition to that group.

United States candidate host cities

  1. Atlanta
  2. Baltimore
  3. Boston
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Dallas
  6. Denver
  7. Houston
  8. Kansas City
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Miami
  11. Nashville
  12. New York/New Jersey
  13. Orlando
  14. Philadelphia
  15. San Francisco Bay Area
  16. Seattle
  17. Washington

Mexico candidate host cities

  1. Guadalajara
  2. Mexico City
  3. Monterrey

Canada candidate host cities

  1. Toronto
  2. Edmonton
  3. Vancouver*
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