Sports

Obligations in BC Place stadium agreement with FIFA revealed

In 2026, the eyes of the world will be on BC Place as it hosts seven matches in the FIFA World Cup, but until recently, nobody has been able to lay eyes on the stadium agreement for those games.

Bob Mackin of Breaker News obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information request and shared them with CTV News.

The contract stipulates that FIFA will have exclusive control of BC Place from one month prior to the opening match until one week after the final match hosted in Vancouver.

That includes areas inside and outside the stadium.

BC Place is required to have two independent power sources so that no matches are delayed or cancelled in the event of a power outage.

The province will spend between $150 million and $200 million to upgrade the stadium to meet the contract requirements.

Work at BC Place will include renovations to washroom facilities and elevators to increase accessibility, upgrades to broadcast and media areas and the installation of a natural grass pitch for the matches.

The portion of the contract stipulating how much rent FIFA will pay to use BC Place has been redacted.

“That’s troubling for a whole lot of reasons. It makes a total mockery of the idea of accountability,” said Carson Binda of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Taxpayers like you and I should be able to see what contracts our governments are entering into, what the implications of those contracts are, what it will cost us, and what our city politicians have promised to this big, nebulous international soccer organization.”

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One such contract that has been kept completely hidden is the host city agreement between the City of Vancouver and FIFA.

“In certain circumstances, the city is contractually and/or legally obligated to keep specific information confidential,” the city said in an email. “For major sporting events, certain information is not publicly disclosed for safety and security reasons, as is the case for the FIFA World Cup 2026 Host City Agreement.”

But other host cities participating in the 2026 FIFA World Cup – including Toronto, Seattle and Santa Clara, Calif. – have shared their agreements.

Those contracts include up to 250 VIP tickets per match for host cities to use as they see fit.

“Are they going to go towards political insiders? Potentially big donors to the mayor and his political party?” said Binda. “Who’s going to get these VIP packages? How are they going to be used? And at the end of the day, why are normal taxpayers being iced out of this entire process?”

Those are all good questions considering the cost to taxpayers has already doubled since the original estimate two years ago.

The latest price estimate for hosting games has ballooned to up to $581 million with kickoff still two more years away. 

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