Expanded FIFA World Cup could include games in Vancouver. Photo courtesy CBC News.

Expanded FIFA World Cup could include games in Vancouver. Photo courtesy CBC News.

B.C. may be on the sidelines if the North American bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup is successful, but the door isn’t completely shut.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Lisa Beare says while the province supports the prospect of hosting the World Cup, the government is not willing to put B.C. at risk of “shouldering potentially huge and unpredictable costs.”

“So far, the bid committee has rejected our requests to clarify how much British Columbians could be expected to contribute. And they have declined to negotiate with the province regarding the concerns we raised,” Beare said in a release.

A joint bid by Canada, the United States and Mexico for the world soccer showcase is to be finalized by Thursday.

FIFA will choose between the North American bid and Morocco this June.

If successful, Canada would host 10 games, with Vancouver among the cities to host matches at B.C. Place Stadium.

“Throughout this process, we have been in regular contact with the bid committee and other levels of government to support this bid, while protecting taxpayers,” Beare said.

“Through these conversations and our submissions to the bid committee, we have made numerous attempts to clarify the risks and obligations faced by British Columbians.”

Beare says the province has been working with the United Bid Committee for several weeks and has now put it in their corner to get Vancouver back in the game to host World Cup contests.

“Should the bid committee reconsider, our door remains open to bringing some of the 2026 World Cup games to Vancouver.”

Andy Neal