VICTORIA – B.C.’s New Democrat government appears lukewarm about supporting a bid to host soccer matches in Vancouver for the FIFA World Cup in 2026, amid accusations it is pulling out of the proposal.

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare ducked questions at the legislature about whether the government pulled its support for the bid before a final deadline. B.C. would be required to participate with a stadium authority agreement for the use of the provincially-owned B.C. Place Stadium.

“There are financial risks to the province obviously,” Beare told reporters at the legislature. “These big opportunities come with some big risks, so we’re taking a look at that.”

She was unable to say, despite repeated questions, whether B.C. has actually abandoned the bid. If so, it would come at the same time as the federal government threw its support, and $5 million in funding, behind the proposal on Tuesday.

“In 2015, the economic benefit, of B.C. alone, of hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup was estimated to be about $118 million, all from an initial investment of $2 million,” said Liberal critic Jas Johal during the legislature’s question period Tuesday. “However, the reports are that the provincial government has pulled out of the bid for the men’s 2026 FIFA World Cup. In fact, we have learned that the bid deadline was last night. Again, I ask the minister. Can she confirm if the province supports the bid — yes or no?”

“We are in close contact with the bid committee, and our team is working closely with them,” replied Beare.

The Canadian and Mexican flags are carried onto the field before a FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer match in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 25, 2016.

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The Canadian and Mexican …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Sports


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