B.C. premier wants to know the cost before backing World Cup bid for Vancouver
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VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan says he would like to see World Cup soccer games at B.C. Place in Vancouver, but not at any price.
The federal government gave its support to the North American bid for the 2026 World Cup on Tuesday.
It is promising up to $5 million in immediate help should the unified bid win.
Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are up against Morocco to host the men's tournament, with a decision coming in June.
Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton have been identified as potential candidates for hosting games.
Horgan says he wants some guarantees on the cost for the province before signing an agreement.
"We have been grappling with the proponents who want us to sign a blank cheque, a conditional agreement that can be changed by FIFA (soccer's governing body) and not by us," said Horgan. "I'd love to see soccer games at B.C. Place. I've said to the proponents: 'Bring it on, let's bring soccer to Vancouver in 2026.' "
But Horgan said he also has a responsibility to protect taxpayers' money.
"Let's also ensure the costs to taxpayers are not out of control," he said. "I have a higher obligation than just being a soccer fan. I have a higher obligation than just wanting to see World Cup soccer in Vancouver."
The Liberals criticized the provincial government for not backing the bid. Legislature member Jas Johal says the government's "dithering" could mean B.C. loses an opportunity to help host the event.