Tourism Minister ‘drops the ball’ on world-class FIFA event

VICTORIA (March 13, 2018) – The Minister responsible for bringing world-class sporting events and their associated benefits to B.C. refuses to confirm Vancouver’s opportunity to co-host the men’s 2026 FIFA World Cup has been quashed by the NDP government.

Vancouver has been part of a united bid to have Canada, Mexico and the U.S. jointly host this exciting event, but it appears the Province has directed that bid be abandoned. “There was a deadline last night and interested parties were informed that the B.C. government would not be proceeding,” says Jas Johal, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough.

When asked about this in Question Period, Tourism Minister Lisa Beare said that while the tournament comes with benefits it “…also comes with great potential risks. So we, as a government, are taking the time to analyze those risks.”

But Johal points out there is no time for more NDP dithering since a deadline has already been missed. It could mean B.C. loses an opportunity to host an event that would bring significant tourism and economic benefits for our province.

Johal noted in Question Period that “in 2015, the economic benefit of hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup was estimated to be about $118 million, all from an initial investment of $2 million.” Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver cites a Boston Consulting Group study that shows host cities for the men’s 2026 FIFA World Cup “could see between $160 and $620 million in incremental economic activity.”

Johal is calling on Beare to confirm the dream of hosting this world-class event is over for B.C. tourism and hospitality workers, as well as soccer fans.