Premier John Horgan speaks to reporters at the B.C. legislature March 13, 2018. (Black Press)

No ‘blank cheque’ for hosting World Cup soccer, Horgan says

Friday deadline for joint Mexico-Canada-US bid to host in 2026

B.C. Place Stadium is still in the running for a North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup of soccer, but there needs to be a full understanding of the cost before joining the three-nation bid, Premier John Horgan said Tuesday.

Federal Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan announced Canada’s support for a joint bid with the U.S. and Mexico Tuesday in Toronto, promising $5 million to pursue a bid in competition with Morocco. Bid books are supposed to be sent to FIFA, the world soccer governing body, by the end of this week with a decision expected in June.

“We have been grappling with the proponents who want us to sign a blank cheque, a conditional agreement that could be changed by FIFA but not by us,” Horgan said in Victoria Tuesday afternoon. “I’d love to see soccer games at B.C. Place. I’ve said quite clearly to the proponents, bring it on. Let’s bring soccer to Vancouver in 2026, but lets’ also ensure that the cost to taxpayers are not out of control.”

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