Water is sprayed on the artificial turf before Switzerland and Ecuador play a FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer match at B.C. Place stadium in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday June 12, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Water is sprayed on the artificial turf before Switzerland and Ecuador play a FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer match at B.C. Place stadium in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday June 12, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver replaces Montreal as proposed FIFA 2026 World Cup location

FIFA has targeted mid-May for announcing site selections

B.C. Place in Vancouver has been added as a proposed site in Canada to host matches at the 2026 World Cup along with Edmonton, Alberta, and Toronto.

FIFA made the announcement Thursday, nine months after Montreal dropped out when the Quebec provincial government withdrew its support.

“It is absolutely thrilling to be a candidate to host the World Cup here in Vancouver for 2026,” B.C.’s Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Melanie Mark said at an announcement on April 15.

“We’ve got one of the best institutions and stadiums in North America. It’s so exciting for our soccer fans, but really, it’s so important for our tourism sector, the sport sector, the hospitality sector — sectors that have been hit really hard by the global health crisis.”

Mark said she was “extremely optimistic” about Vancouver’s odds of becoming a host city.

The cost of hosting the games is estimated between $240 million to $260 million. The anticipated economic return is expected to be more than $1 billion.

Each of Canada’s potential host cities — Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto is vying to host at least four to five games. Only 10 will be played in Canada.

Eighteen U.S. stadiums in 17 areas are bidding for the event, with the Los Angeles area submitting both SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, site of the 1994 World Cup final. Three cities in Mexico are bidding.

FIFA has targeted mid-May for announcing site selections.

FIFA also said Amy Hopfinger, the U.S. Soccer Federation’s director of events, will become chief strategy and planning officer of FIFA’s subsidiary in the U.S. for the 2026 World Cup. Hopfinger, 41, has worked at the USSF for 18 years.

Dan Flynn will become senior executive adviser of the subsidiary. The 67-year-old served as the USSF’s chief executive officer from June 2000 until September 2019.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first with 48 nations and the first with three co-hosts. FIFA selected the bid as joint host in June 2018.

Sixty games are to be played in the U.S., including all from the quarterfinals on. Canada and Mexico are to host 10 games each.

The bid plan envisioned 16 total sites for the tournament.

The bid had been trimmed to 23 candidate areas in March 2018, including Montreal.

The remaining areas and stadiums:

United States

Arlington, Texas, AT&T Stadium; Atlanta, Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Baltimore, M&T Bank Stadium; Cincinnati, Paul Brown Stadium; Denver, Empower Field at Mile High; East Rutherford, New Jersey, MetLife Stadium; Foxborough, Massachusetts, Gillette Stadium; Houston, NRG Stadium; Inglewood, California, SoFi Stadium; Kansas City, Missouri, Arrowhead Stadium; Landover, Maryland, FedEx Field; Miami Gardens, Florida, Hard Rock Stadium; Nashville, Tennessee, Nissan Stadium; Orlando, Florida, Camping World Stadium; Pasadena, California, Rose Bowl; Philadelphia, Lincoln Financial Field; Santa Clara, California, Levi’s Stadium; Seattle, Lumen Field.

Canada

Edmonton, Alberta, Commonwealth Stadium; Toronto, BMO Field; Vancouver, British Columbia, B.C. Place.

Mexico

Guadalajara, Estadio Akron; Mexico City, Estadio Azteca; Monterrey, Estadio BBVA.

The Associated Press

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