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Park board approves Vancouver’s World Cup bid

The park board is on board with Vancouver’s bid to be a host city if the World Cup comes to North America in 2026.
world cup
Vancouver park board is on board with the city's bid to be a host city if the World Cup comes to North America in 2026.

The park board is on board with Vancouver’s bid to be a host city if the World Cup comes to North America in 2026.

Commissioners earlier this week unanimously approved a series of staff recommendations needed for Vancouver to be considered as one of the Canadian host cities if the united North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup is successful.

“This is kind of a big deal,” said Michelle Collens, the city’s manager of sport hosting, who outlined the process for commissioners.

Vancouver city council last week voted in favour of proceeding with the bid.

Last April, Canada, the United States and Mexico joined their respective soccer associations together to create the United Bid Committee in a push to host the World Cup in 2026. Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal were selected as potential host cities in Canada and another 25 cities in the U.S. and three in Mexico area also in the running to become host cities.

If the bid is successful, and Vancouver is chosen as a host city, soccer fans could expect three to five games to be played at B.C. Place Stadium, depending on how many host cities are in Canada. If two cities are chosen, then each would host five games. A total of 80 matches are played during the tournament — Canada and Mexico would host 10 each with the United States hosting the remaining 60 games. All the semi-final and final games would be played in U.S. cities.

If Vancouver is chosen as a host city, the park board would be responsible for providing training venues. For the purpose of the bid, the city must propose four options with the assumption that two would be chosen. Collens said that any costs associated with provided the training sites during the tournament would be recovered as part of the rental fee paid by FIFA.

Staff identified four potential sites — Memorial South, Trillium Fields, Empire Fields and Jericho Field. Collen said the training sites have to fulfill specific requirements including not being visible from any public or private buildings, available for exclusive use for 14 days before the tournament starts until the final game is played and the venues must be within a 20-minute drive of team accommodations.

“This is an incredibly exciting prospect,” board chair Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon said ahead of the unanimous vote. “In 1986 we invited the world to come and look at Vancouver, in 2010 we showed the world just what Vancouver was and that we were a truly modern 21st-century city. In 2026 we’ll not only show the world how beautiful Vancouver is but that we can host a truly world-wide event.”

“It’s an exciting sport and I know the kids in the community are also really excited to see this kind of program or this kind of event in the city, and it’s just wonderful to offer them that opportunity to see such an amazing world event,” said NPA commissioner Casey Crawford.

The bid deadline is March 26. On June 13 FIFA will announce the winning bid however the official host cities won’t be announced until June 2020.

Morocco is the only competing bid.