Alberta government confirms funding to Edmonton for 2026 World Cup bid

The government of Alberta will provide financial support to the City of Edmonton in its efforts to host games as part of the FIFA 2026 Canada-USA-Mexico World Cup.

Minister of Culture, Ronald Orr, has written to the mayor, committing World Cup funding.

Read more: Edmonton likely but not guaranteed to host 2026 World Cup games: ‘There’s more work to do’

In 2018, soccer’s international governing body voted in favour of a joint bid for the event by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

The World Cup is scheduled to take place in Canada, the United States and Mexico in June and July 2026. The governing body said it is working closely with host associations “in this highly competitive selection process involving a variety of very strong and diverse candidates across the three countries.”

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FIFA said in January 2021 that it planned to visit potential venues and unveil its final choice of host cities in 2022.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver back in the running for a host city for the 2026 men’s World Cup' Vancouver back in the running for a host city for the 2026 men’s World Cup

Vancouver back in the running for a host city for the 2026 men’s World Cup – Jul 13, 2021

Toronto (BMO Field), Montreal (Olympic Stadium) and Edmonton (Commonwealth Stadium) were the original Canadian candidate host cities for the men’s soccer event. But Montreal withdrew its candidacy to host the soccer championship in July 2021, citing a lack of funding.

“We wish the cities of Toronto and Edmonton good luck in their respective candidacies,” the city said on July 6.

Click to play video: 'Will Edmonton be a co-host for 2026 World Cup?' Will Edmonton be a co-host for 2026 World Cup?

Will Edmonton be a co-host for 2026 World Cup? – Jun 13, 2018

In 2018, the province said it would not financially support Edmonton’s bid, at least until it received a more detailed business plan that addressed the financial needs for a bid.

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“Albertans expect their government to spend their money in a responsible way,” said Ricardo Miranda, who was Alberta’s minister of culture on June 13, 2018. “We will work closely with the City of Edmonton and the federal government on this in the weeks ahead.”

Read more: How Edmonton stacks up against the other United 2026 World Cup bid cities

Then-mayor Don Iveson said the ask of the provincial government would be in the “low tens of millions” of dollars. The federal government had already confirmed its support.

At the time, Iveson estimated the economic impact of hosting a few matches in Edmonton would be in the area of $170 million. He said the international exposure for the city would also be incredible.

FIFA will select up to 16 host cities from the 23 candidates proposed in the North American bid.

The plan is for Canada and Mexico to host 10 games each with the U.S. hosting 60, including all games from the quarterfinals on.

Most of the venues in the United States will be NFL stadiums, with the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets expected to host the final on July 12, 2026.

Read more: ‘Quintessentially Edmonton’ winter blast hits ahead of Canada-Mexico World Cup qualifying match

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In November 2021, Edmonton hosted World Cup qualifying matches that saw Canada take on Costa Rica and Mexico.

On Nov. 12, there were about 48,000 fans at Commonwealth Stadium for the Costa Rica game. The match between Canada and Mexico saw about 44,000 fans in attendance.

Explore Edmonton estimated the World Cup qualifying games generated somewhere between $30 million and $40 million in economic benefits for the region.

Click to play video: 'Canada and Mexico’s World Cup qualifying match to be played in a winter wonderland' Canada and Mexico’s World Cup qualifying match to be played in a winter wonderland

Canada and Mexico’s World Cup qualifying match to be played in a winter wonderland – Nov 16, 2021

— With files from Caley Gibson, Global News and the Associated Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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