Canadian Taxpayers Federation calls for B.C. FIFA cost transparency

Just over two years away from kick off for the 2026 FIFA World Cup at BC Place, but the provincial government still hasn’t announced a budget. Monika Gul reports.

With B.C.’s Ministry of Tourism saying it is “updating its cost estimates” to determine how much it will have to pay to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is demanding more transparency.

The CTF is pushing for updated estimates to be released, with B.C. Director Carson Binda saying, “Vancouver taxpayers deserve accountability when hundreds of millions are on the line.”

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Tourism told CityNews it continues to work with its partners to further the estimates for planning, staging, and hosting World Cup matches, which include two additional games than initially announced.

In June 2022, the province estimated costs of hosting would be between $240 million and $260 million. However, that was when Vancouver was slated to host five games, not seven. Inflation rates have also risen since then.

Meanwhile, a recent report to the Toronto Mayor’s Executive Committee showed that “current projections estimate operating and capital costs incurred locally” will be around $380 million — $80 million higher than the initial projection.

“Costs have ballooned in Toronto and Vancouver needs to be honest with its taxpayers about how much the soccer games are going to cost,” Binda said Wednesday.

“Toronto taxpayers can’t afford to pay for soccer games that are almost a hundred million dollars over budget already … That’s unacceptable when taxpayers are getting clobbered with higher taxes.”

With only estimates showing the cost could be up to $260 million, the CTF is pressing the premier and Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim to be more forthcoming.

“They need to stop hiding the numbers and tell taxpayers how much these soccer games are going to cost us,” Binda added.

-With files from Aastha Pandey-Kanaan and Sonia Aslam

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