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.

Just Posted

Village Classic Car show brings some muscle to Chilliwack’s downtown

Hot wheels and cool cars line Chilliwack streets

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

UPDATE: Fire destroys Chilliwack restaurant

Popular Banners Restaurant goes up in flames Sunday morning.

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Man shot dead in Clayton area of Surrey, witnesses sought by police

It happened in the 18200-block of 67A Avenue

VIDEO: Agassiz Community Gardens turns 15

Growing is good for personal and community health

Man facing charges after baby food stolen from Richmond doorstep

A 40-year-old man is facing several charges

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

10 of TransLink’s most used SkyTrain routes

TransLink released its 2017 Transit Network Performance Review, offering snapshot of ridership

Serial speeder clocked going 138 km/hr in 90 zone

Driver had their vehicle impounded

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

VIDEO: Plane crashes in Langley farm field (updated)

Plane lost power shortly after takeoff, RCMP told

Most Read