-Bill Currie, Editor-in-chief
On January 30, 2018, the people of Vancouver had spoken
After months of public consultation, the elected representatives of Vancouver voted “unanimously and enthusiastically” to approve Vancouver as a host city for the United North American bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
This was no surprise.
Metro Vancouver had already played host for many successful events. Expo 86, the Molson Indy, the 2007 FIFA U20 World Cup, the 2010 Winter Olympics, the 2010 Winter Paralympics, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and World Rugby Sevens. All of these were incredibly successful. All of these events had naysayers who were proven wrong. BC Place had been transformed into Canada’s best stadium in the process.
Vancouverites were for it. The soccer community was for it. There was virtually no vocal public opposition to this. Every day in the last decade had been building to this point. The 2026 World Cup in Vancouver was Canada’s jewel and a no brainer.
On March 15, hours before the formal bid was due to be delivered, the BC NDP wiped it out.
The BC NDP did this without any public consultation. They did it unexpectedly at the last second. They destroyed a decade’s worth of work by thousands of citizens in BC.
The public opposition to this decision was swift and overwhelming. Then the BC NDP pushed back.
They responded by gaming the media. Lisa Beare, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture implied that BC Place was suddenly substandard for the world class sporting events it was specifically built to host. She claimed that FIFA had been asking for terms that other major sporting events on this scale didn’t require. She downplayed the number of matches BC Place would host in the years leading up to the 2026 World Cup. The NDP spoon-fed writers at The Province and the Globe and Mail who lip-synched NDP talking points in their stories. Neither paper appears to have done even five minutes of basic research that would have challenged NDP claims, or proven them false all together.
This is nowhere near good enough.
In this ongoing series, BC Soccer Web will investigate Vancouver’s failed 2026 World Cup bid and the factors behind it. Utilizing public records and interviews with experts in the field, we will explore whether the BC NDP government is being truthful when it suggests Vancouver is suddenly incapable of hosting large events such as the 2026 World Cup. We will look at the other 23 North American jurisdictions that embraced the bid, despite facing the exact same conditions. We’ll also examine the long-term consequences for the B.C. soccer community and the provincial economy.
Anyone who has been following our site for the last 22 years knows we’re not blind to FIFA controversies. Unlike other FIFA supporters, we don’t wave them away. FIFA needs reform and the 2026 World Cup in North America is an important part of that. We will address this too with equal rigour.
Our series will go where the facts take us. We won’t engage with the social media army of soccer supporters or political parties on either side. We will simply relate the facts as we find them.
We’ll also take our time with this series. We have eight years, after all.
The 2026 World Cup looks to be lost for Vancouver. That may not be a shame for some, but it will be for our children and their children. The questions of how it happened remain. For many in B.C., these questions will not go away for a lifetime. Vancouver, Canada’s historic home of soccer, needs to know why the stadium that Canadian taxpayers invested in is suddenly not suitable. The B.C. generation that will miss the 2026 World Cup while the rest of the country rejoices deserves that much.
The voters of B.C. deserve to know this much. Stay tuned.