Vancouver officially being considered as 2026 FIFA World Cup host city

Vancouver is officially being considered by FIFA as a possible host city for the World Cup in four years’ time.

For the first time ever, the 2026 World Cup will be held across three countries: Canada, Mexico and the United States. FIFA said the selection process for host cities is ongoing, but confirmed Thursday Vancouver is in the running.

“Hosting the event would be a once-in-a-generation opportunity for soccer fans, for our tourism sector and for all British Columbians,” Minister of Tourism Melanie Mark said in a statement Thursday.

“We appreciate the opportunity to become a candidate host city and have worked hard with our partners to get to this first step … Our goal is, and always will be, to deliver the games in a way that maximizes benefits of this event for all British Columbians.”

FIFA said joint documents from the province and City of Vancouver were received, proposing BC Place as the stadium.

“Vancouver is not new to FIFA events, having successfully hosted several matches during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, including the final in front of over 50,000 spectators,” a statement from the agency said.

Last month, the City of Vancouver said it would pitch in as much as $5 million for the bid. The effort is significantly higher than in 2015, when the city contributed $1.5 million in operating funds to bring the Women’s World Cup to Vancouver.

Years ago, however, Premier John Horgan seemed opposed to the idea of hosting the games in B.C. But now, there is a need to bring tourists back to Vancouver, and hosting the World Cup would certainly draw people from around the world.

“We have in BC Place, a very expensive stadium that had a rebuild that was almost as expensive as the first construction, and it’s been virtually idle for the past two years,” Horgan said in in February.

Both Horgan and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart agree the soccer tournament could be a way to boost B.C.’s tourism sector after being hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Destination BC and BC Stats estimated hosting would bring in more than $1 billion in new revenue for B.C.’s tourism sector during and in the five years that follow the event, and there are tremendous benefits for individuals and communities alike,” Mark’s statement said.

“We expect this event to be a magnet for visitors to support local business in beautiful British Columbia.”

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Kendra Mangione and St. John Alexander 

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