Bye bye, BC Place: Vancouver’s departure from WC bid offers boost to Edmonton, PR windfall for Morocco By Steven Sandor Posted on March 14, 2018 3 0 858 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Canadian supporters at BC Place. Most of us in the Canadian soccer scene are still trying to process the news that Vancouver is no longer part of the United World Cup bid. Because the British Columbia government wasn’t comfortable backing what it saw as an open-ended bidding process, it couldn’t endorse Vancouver as a potential host city for the 2026 World Cup. And, with the World Cup bid being due on March 16, that mean the city missed the deadline for inclusion — and now the stadium that hosted the Women’s World Cup final in 2015 is out of the process. Now, only three Canadian cities — Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal — are part of the bid process. The United bid — which would see 60 games played in the United States, with 10 in each of Canada and Mexico — is up against Morocco for the right to host the 2026 World Cup. What could be the fallout of Vancouver leaving the bid? MOROCCO GETS A PR WIN Right now, somewhere in Morocco, the people at the top of that country’s bidding process are all saying “thank you” to B.C. Premier John Horgan and his government. It’s easy for them to point out just how the United bid isn’t, well, very united. I can see the phone calls to fellow FIFA members, now. “Wow, the city that hosted the Women’s World Cup final, doesn’t want to be part of the World Cup! They are out at the last possible second before the bid goes out!” And then they’ll talk about how all of Morocco’s cities are on board, how united the nation is to get the 2026 tournament. So, if Morocco does end up beating the United bid, they can offer British Columbia more than a few thank yous. EDMONTON MOVES FROM UNDERDOG TO FAVOURITE As of one day ago, if you asked the average Canadian which of the four prospective host cities was most likely to be ousted, Edmonton would have won by a considerable margin. It’s the smallest of the four metros. It doesn’t have an MLS team, and its pro team’s future isn’t certain. Sure, it hosted more Women’s World Cup matches than any other city, but the cynic will point out that had a lot to to do with Toronto not being part of WWC ‘15. But, let’s go back to some documents that were presented at Vancouver City Council back in January, when the bid was debated. They stated that Canada’s assumption was that, if only two cities were selected by FIFA, that one would come from the East and one from the West. (FIFA could also pick three cities, too — and that might be the easiest solution now that Vancouver is out.) That means Edmonton and Commonwealth Stadium is now looking pretty darn good. WHAT ABOUT THE NATIONAL TEAMS? In the previous World Cup qualifying cycle, the men’s national team made BC Place its home. John Herdman, the national men’s team’s new coach, is a big Vancouver booster. When he ran the women’s team, he made Vancouver the team’s unofficial-but-kinda-official home city. But, if British Columbia is seen as leaving Canada Soccer holding the bag, will BC Place continue to be a preferred destination? It’s hard to imagine BC Place being a prime destination for the national teams going forward. Today represented a pretty long bridge being burned.