Not much of a surprise when people see things differently. Even in Vancouver.

But this is about a global event — it’s about football (aka soccer), and hosting the great, big tournament. The most popular sport in the world, testosterone, and billions of bucks.

It’s FIFA’s 2026 World Cup, which is coming to North America. But not Vancouver.

Let’s start with the Province of British Columbia, which rejected participation in the bid to host FIFA’s 2026 World Cup tournament. The grounds for this rejection included the open-ended, expensive, and onerous terms FIFA put to the hosts, with FIFA also able to unilaterally change the terms. Even if there is reasonable trust between the parties, it smells like a bad deal to me.

I also sense some institutional learning related to the expense of Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics, where actual venue, security and other costs are probably still on file somewhere for review. It’s doubtless they still scare people.

Says Lisa Beare, BC’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, whose government owns BC Place Stadium, location of many of the costly changes demanded by FIFA:

Our government has a responsibility to ensure that B.C. taxpayers are not on the hook for hidden costs. . . .

The FIFA bid agreement contained clauses, which government felt left taxpayers at unacceptable risk of additional costs. We tried very hard to get assurances that addressed our concerns. Unfortunately, those assurances were not forthcoming.

Further thoughts and opinion HERE (thanks to Gary Mason) and HERE (thanks to Mike Smyth).  Hint — both agree with the provincial government.

But, this being Vancouver, here’s a contrary opinion from Kenneth Chan at the Daily Hive, basically to the effect that a few soccer games are worth the can’t-be-calculated outlay of government money. Mr. Chan estimates the costs to BC and Vancouver to be in the tens of millions; he believes in the FIFA estimate of hundreds of millions in benefits to locals. I have my doubts.

Likewise, BC Liberal MLA Michele Stilwell wants the games for Vancouver. Her tweet didn’t get much support, but then, it is a public forum. Great reading if you need a refresher on partisan barb-tossing.

And then there’s this: can FIFA be trusted? Should they be trusted? Again, I have my doubts. Based on an FBI investigation in 2105, the Guardian reports:

The world governing body of football, FIFA, is facing an unprecedented crisis on the eve of its congress in Zurich after Swiss authorities arrested a string of officials on corruption charges and opened criminal proceedings over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

It’s called the “World Cup of Fraud“, and is described HERE at Britannica.com.

And thanks to the New Yorker :

My thoughts?  It’s a smart move to stay away from FIFA and their tournament.  Perhaps Vancouver could host a diving championship instead.

Comments

  1. I’m also with the B.C. government on this one. Vancouver doesn’t need more worldwide publicity that will further drive up land and housing prices, just as signs are appearing that real estate inflation is slowing down a bit. The Michelle Stilwell comment strikes me as a knee-jerk political reaction: Whatever the government does, we’re opposed to it.

  2. While I am a huge sports fan and disappointed we are missing out; the government decision makes complete sense to me. If FIFA had given some indication of the costs, a different decision might have been made, but the requirement of basically a blank cheque makes no sense for the taxpayers. It should be noted that Chicago made the same decision for basically the same reasons.

  3. Hosting FIFA was a bad idea when Canada didn’t have the World Cup. It’s a worse idea now that we do. It was the right decision.

  4. Stilwell should get a red card for that remark. Jas Johal, as usual, chirping from the sidelines too.

    The City of Montreal is spending 2-3 hundred million on a retractable roof for the Olympic Stadium for the World Cup in 2026, or ‘the big Owe’ as it is commonly called. Strangely, most of the opposition to this spending is coming from baseball fans who think the money would be better spent on a new stadium in the downtown area of Montreal.

  5. If it’s still a requirements for the World Cup to have natural grass turf, then that cost alone for the conversion at BC Place would probably be too high for a temporary field, especially when there are other Canadian stadiums that ordinarily have natural turf.

  6. Out of curiosity, did anyone manage to ferret out the real total cost of the Olympic bamboozle, the one included ALL extra costs for security, infrastructure, Sea to Sky upgrades, and the thousand and one other ways that the Liberals subsidized the show?

    (Note re Skytrain and similar things: if you’re going to claim that they don’t count as part of the costs of the games, you can’t also claim that they are a “legacy” from the Olympics that we should be thankful for. It’s either A or B)

    (And obviously we could have built transit and upgraded highways without also blowing mega-bucks on Gordo’s party.)

    1. I saw the figure one billion bucks for security. I popped into the Waterfront Centre food court for a quick lunch just after RCMP from all over the country arrived before the Olympics. About 400 of them decided to have lunch there at the same time. I have never seen so many cops in one place. I’ve never felt safer.

    2. The thing about the Olympic ‘legacies’ was that the transit system moved 2.7 million people a day, hundreds of thousands more than our population level. To anyone remotely interested in urbanism and transportation, that was an astounding achievement.

      So go ahead, Alberta, cut off our oil. We have experience in transport alternatives and will muddle through. 😉

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