(Reuters) - Vancouver will not be part of Canada’s bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup with the United States and Mexico after the province balked at signing a contract amid concerns about unpredictable costs.
British Columbia Tourism Minister Lisa Beare said on Wednesday that the province, which hosted the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, could not agree with the terms of the host contract put forward by the United Bid Committee.
“While we support the prospect of hosting the World Cup, we cannot agree to terms that would put British Columbians at risk of shouldering potentially huge and unpredictable costs,” said Beare in a statement.
“Throughout this process, we have been in regular contact with the bid committee and other levels of government to support this bid, while protecting taxpayers.
“So far, the bid committee has rejected our requests to clarify how much British Columbians could be expected to contribute. And they have declined to negotiate with the province regarding the concerns we raised.
“Should the bid committee reconsider, our door remains open to bringing some of the 2026 World Cup games to Vancouver.”
With formal bids to be presented to world soccer’s governing body FIFA on Friday, it appears Vancouver’s hopes of being part of the World Cup are over despite Beare’s willingness to continue negotiations.
“The United Bid will offer FIFA more than the required number of qualified Candidate Host Cities and stadiums to be considered – and require no new construction to stage the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” United Bid 2026 spokesman Brian Reich told Reuters in an email.
Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton have been identified as other potential Canadian host cities.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first to feature 48 nations with Canada expected to get 10 of the 80 matches. Mexico will be awarded 10 games while 60 will go to the United States.
Morocco is the only challenger to the joint Canada, Mexico and U.S. bid to stage the tournament.
FIFA will vote to decide on the winning bid at their congress on June 13.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis