BC Place stadium would have needed undefined improvements, likely including new turf, to host World Cup soccer games. (Ryan Adams/Wikimedia Commons)

B.C. Place will miss out on World Cup soccer celebration

Premier John Horgan doesn’t ‘regret for a minute’ pulling out

World Cup soccer won’t be coming to B.C. in 2026, after a joint North American bid won the right to host the tournament.

The B.C. government dropped out of the bidding in March, citing unknown costs due to possible upgrades to B.C. Place stadium to meet the demands of FIFA, the World Cup governing body.

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare said Wednesday she is happy that the North America bid was successful, but the province made the right decision.

Premier John Horgan was in Grand Forks Wednesday to announce a new disaster relief fund for people forced from their homes.

“I do not regret for a minute the decision we made to withdraw any support for the bid, based on the lack of a final number from FIFA,” Horgan said. “We’re still not prepared to write a blank cheque for a soccer tournament that would not guarantee a specific number of games, would not guarantee the duration of the closing of B.C. Place and would not give us a final dollar figure.

“Now knowing that we need to put resources into places like Grand Forks and looking at a fire season ahead of us, I think most taxpayers would be grateful for that decision,” Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. dropped from Canada’s World Cup bid

The announcement of North America’s winning bid came Wednesday from Moscow, where Russia is hosting the 2018 World Cup tournament.

“It was goose bumps, it was tears, cheering, it was unbelievable,” said Karina LeBlanc, two-time Olympic medal winning goaltender for Canada’s national women’s soccer team.

LeBlanc, who grew up in Maple Ridge B.C. and now plays professionally, was in Moscow for the decision. “It’s a game changer for our three countries, especially for Canada,” she said.

B.C. was dropped from the Canadian bid after the province refused to sign off on undefined upgrades that may have included putting natural grass turf in B.C. Place stadium.

B.C. Liberal tourism critic Jas Johal said the decision to drop out is a setback for tourism in B.C., the only province that couldn’t make a deal for the three-country bid. B.C. residents will have to “reserve a spot on the sofa instead of the stadium,” Johal said.

That leaves Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto in the running to host the 10 games that will be awarded to Canada. There is no guarantee all the cities will host games as plans for the World Cup tournament continue to unfold under FIFA control.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

IN IT TOGETHER: Learning to learn at home

As we rethink how best to educate our children, Albion mindful instructor Alex Bruce has a few ideas

Cookies and kindness delivered to Maple Ridge seniors in isolation

An Albion boy with autism uses his artistic skills to bring smiles to those in a local care home

Pet owners encouraged to be proactive in caring for their animals

Maple Ridge SPCA shelter is closed to the public, but adoptions and fostering are still possible

LETTER: Reword it from social to mandatory distancing

Shocked that some people are not listening to the critical COVID safety rules

LETTER: Parent, have a serious discussion with your children, please

Teens seen strolling together, up-close, and failing to abide by social distancing rules

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Insurance shock for B.C. condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

Most Read