March 16, 2018 2:59 pm
Updated: March 16, 2018 9:59 pm

Edmonton officially a 2026 FIFA World Cup of soccer bid city

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton is officially a candidate city as part of a united North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup. Municipal and federal leaders are on board to support the bid, but the provincial level has said they won't financially support the bid. John Sexsmith has the details.


Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal will submit a joint bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup of soccer, federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi confirmed Friday morning.

READ MORE: Commonwealth Stadium would get real grass for World Cup year

The Edmonton matches would take place at Commonwealth Stadium. Sohi said the Government of Canada’s support in principal the united bid.

“Canada is a country that celebrates our diversity as a strength,” Sohi said, adding the event is an opportunity to show off our Indiginous culture and multicultural history to the world.

“With one-fifth of our population coming from somewhere else, born somewhere else, during the World Cup every team will truly be at home.”

WATCH: Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi announces Edmonton will be one of the three cities in Canada bidding to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup of soccer.

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While the federal government is backing the city, on Thursday the Alberta government said it would not throw its financial support behind Edmonton’s participation in the joint bid.

READ MORE: Alberta government won’t support Edmonton in joint 2026 FIFA World Cup bid

The province said there wasn’t enough information available at this time to be able to determine the full impact that hosting the soccer event would have on taxpayers.

Vancouver, Chicago and Minneapolis were also among the list of potential host cities, but they all dropped out at the last minute over concerns about FIFA’s demands.

The British Columbia government expressed concerns over FIFA’s guide for bidding, which includes a clause that “each government is requested to assume full responsibility – at its own cost – for the safety and security of the competition.”

READ MORE: More cities follow Vancouver out the door on FIFA World Cup bid

However, the government said it was was never provided with information on how much those costs could be.

FIFA also requires a “step-in” clause, which would allow the governing body to require host cities to make adjustments to parking, stadiums or security even after a bid has been secured.

Dan Mason, a professor of sport management with the University of Alberta, said he believes cities are becoming more wary of hosting major sporting events due to uncertainties related to costs, and whether there are actual benefits to being a host city.

“This is going to force organizations like FIFA and IOC (International Olympic Committee) to change they way they engage local governments.

“FIFA is so used to having cities and regions scrambling for the opportunity to host games that they have been accustomed to get whatever they want.”

READ MORE: Hosting part of 2026 FIFA World Cup to cost $35-$55 million, city report says

Investigative journalist Andrew Jennings has spent a career looking into FIFA and the corruption within soccer’s governing body.

“The contract is a laugh. You never sign it in a free world, FIFA doesn’t believe it’s a free world – they believe it’s a world run by FIFA,” Jennings said in response to Vancouver pulling out.

The city will find out on June 13 if Edmonton moves on to the next stage of the bid. The United Bid is in the running against Morocco.

— With files from Richard Zussman and Caley Ramsay, Global News

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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