Vancouver will find out, once and for all, if it will host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026 next month.
FIFA will reveal the host cities from Canada, USA, and Mexico during a live broadcast from New York City on June 16. There are 22 candidate host cities still in contention to stage matches, including three from Canada: Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for soccer fans on the west coast after the BC government pulled Vancouver out of consideration in 2018, with Premier John Horgan citing FIFA wanting it to write a “blank cheque.”
But last year, Horgan changed his tune, saying that FIFA had reduced its demands and that BC had a greater desire to boost tourism due to the pandemic.
“We’re in a completely different situation,” he said.
Following months of discussion, FIFA officially accepted Vancouver back as a candidate host city last month.
The tournament is being co-hosted by three countries and will feature 48 teams — both firsts for the FIFA World Cup.
“In line with the previous stages of the FIFA World Cup 2026 selection process, any announcement will be made in the best interests of football, taking into consideration the needs of all stakeholders involved, as we aim to lay the foundations for the tournament to be delivered successfully across all three countries,” said FIFA Vice-President and CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani.
“We can only reiterate our appreciation to all the cities and the three-member associations for their efforts and dedication to this process.”
It remains to be seen how many host cities will be chosen, though a majority of them will be in the United States, which is set to host 40 of the 60 matches. Canada and Mexico have been chosen to host 10 matches each.
FIFA could opt to split Canadian hosting duties between all three candidate host cities or decide to pick just two.
While Vancouver proved to be a difficult partner politically for FIFA, it has a number of advantages over Toronto and Edmonton — beginning with its stadium, as BC Place is the best large-scale soccer stadium in the country. Vancouver is also a popular destination for tourism and is in close proximity to Seattle, which could be chosen to host matches as well.
In a media release, Canada Soccer noted that stadiums “represent an essential element of the selection process,” but that FIFA is also considering “the overarching proposals presented by each candidate host city.” Those are broader in nature, Canada Soccer says, and includes “ancillary events and venues, and key aspects such as sustainability, human rights, legacy, general infrastructure and financial impact.”
“During the past months we have had open exchanges with the candidate host cities on a number of different topics. We are very thankful and impressed by how dedicated and innovative they all are,” said FIFA’s Chief Tournaments and Events Officer, Colin Smith.
“The host cities will be absolutely key to ensuring the successful delivery of the competition. We look forward to working with them to deliver what will undoubtedly be the largest FIFA World Cup in history.”
Candidate host cities in Canada (3)
Candidate host cities in the United States (16)
- Kansas City
- Los Angeles
- New York/New Jersey
- San Francisco
- Washington DC/Baltimore
Candidate host cities in Mexico (3)
- Mexico City
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