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.
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.
Talk about fumbling a ball! US, Mexico and #Canada have been awarded the 2026 World Cup. Fantastic for all except the BC NDP pulled #Vancouver out of the bid so now B.C. misses their once in a lifetime opportunity to host the world class event. #fail
— Michelle Stilwell (@Stilwell4BC) June 13, 2018
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.
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.