Vancouver back in the running as 2026 FIFA World Cup host city

Jul 13 2021, 6:33 pm

The 2026 FIFA World Cup is coming to Canada, and Vancouver is back in the running to potentially be a host city.

The BC government pulled Vancouver out of consideration for the World Cup during the bidding process in March 2018, citing that FIFA essentially wanted the province to sign a “blank cheque.”

But after Montreal pulled out of the running last week, it has created an opportunity for Vancouver, according to BC Premier John Horgan.

The province is now open to the idea of Vancouver hosting games at BC Place.

Canada will host 10 matches during the 2026 World Cup, with the United States and Mexico hosting the others. Other Canadian cities likely to serve as host cities include Toronto and Edmonton.

Horgan said he has had some “preliminary discussions” with FIFA representatives in Canada. While he said the original proposal would still be too expensive to commit to, he did say that his government is in a “different place” now.

“Certainly, with Montreal stepping away, it does create a real opportunity for Vancouver,” said Horgan.

“You’ll remember when the original proposal was put before our government; we were just barely elected at that point. We were looking at the fiscal situation. We were making determinations about how best to go forward in a minority situation.

“When we looked at the FIFA presentation, it was a little rich for our blood, and we chose to give it a pass. But now, fast forward to 2021, we’re in a completely different situation.”

After needing the support of the BC Green Party in a minority government from 2017 to 2020, the BC NDP secured a majority government in last fall’s provincial election. That, together with a desire to boost tourism after the pandemic, appears to have changed Horgan’s tune.

“We are coming out of a global pandemic. Our tourism sector has been buffeted perhaps more than any other sector over the past 16 months. And the prospect of inviting the world to Vancouver in 2026 all of a sudden takes on a whole new meaning — not just for those passionate about soccer but those that would want to see an opportunity to reacquaint the world with the splendour of British Columbia and particularly Vancouver.

“I have had some preliminary discussions with the FIFA representatives here in Canada. We’ve made it abundantly clear that if the proposal is as rich as that was proposed in 2018, we wouldn’t be interested. But again, FIFA’s in a different place; Vancouver, British Columbia, is in a different place. We’re prepared to entertain those discussions and see where we go.”

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