JONES: Is Jason Kenney burying Edmonton’s World Cup chances?

It is the second biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympic Games. Someone should make sure Kenney knows about this.

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British Columbia Premier John Horgan told reporters in Victoria after Tuesday’s throne speech that his government was likely to back down and try to become a FIFA World Cup host city. 2026 after all.

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“We have been approached by Soccer Canada and officials through Soccer Canada through FIFA to reconsider whether Vancouver could be a host city for the 2026 World Cup,” he said. he told reporters.

Three years ago, BC decided to pull out, citing “unrealistic expectations” from FIFA.

Horgan told reporters Tuesday that the province is now “in a totally different place.”

Meanwhile, in Alberta, the provincial government of Jason Kenney has yet to make a commitment.

It would appear that Soccer Canada has reached out to Vancouver as a replacement city for the otherwise top-notch Edmonton bid.

Prime Minister Jason Kenney.
Prime Minister Jason Kenney. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

“Unreasonable expectations” in Edmonton resulted in the Commonwealth Stadium being guaranteed to replace the artificial surface with a grass pitch in 2026. This was agreed early and plans were made to show the inspection team of the 30 person FIFA site here in November.

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FIFA is believed to be hoping to announce the successful host cities within the next six to eight weeks.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, you must know, is on the case and ready to apply whatever pressure he can to inspire Kenney to stop dithering, dithering and delaying and stepping up to make this be done as planned.

“In my budget submission to Premier Kenney and Minister Travis Toews, I highlighted four must-haves and a commitment to host the 2026 World Cup was one of those demands,” Sohi said in an exclusive interview. .

“We’re certainly up against the clock on this deal, but Councilor Cartmell and I are optimistic the province will pull through for us by providing the commitment we need to host the 2026 World Cup,” he said. he declares.

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Mayor Amarjeet Sohi attends an Edmonton City Council meeting on November 1, 2021.
Mayor Amarjeet Sohi attends an Edmonton City Council meeting on November 1, 2021. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

In November, Edmonton hosted two FIFA World Cup qualifiers in -9C and snowbanks on the sidelines, with Canada beating Costa Rica and Mexico before a combined crowd of one just under 100,000 people go around the world.

The FIFA team, led by tournament events manager Colin Smith of England, timed the visit to attend the Canada-Mexico match.

Smith called the bid book and tour titled “Expect Extraordinary” a “superb presentation” and mentioned the 2018 FIFA Congress in Moscow, where it all started with a speech on behalf of the Canada-United States bid. Mexico 2026 by a then largely unknown. child from Edmonton.

“Alphonso Davies wowed us with his eloquence at the time,” he said of the now Bayern Munich international superstar.

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There was little mention of the elephant in the room, of the provincial government’s failure to step up support, but Kenney attended one of the games and couldn’t help but experience the triumph over the moon involved and the international recognition it brought. Everyone expressed the belief that the provincial government would make it happen.

“Councillor Tim Cartmell and I have been defending the province for months now,” said Sohi, who hosted a lunch for the inspection tour team heading to Los Angeles, Mexico City and Toronto from here.

“Supporting Edmonton’s bid for the World Cup makes sense because this is more than an event, it’s a global platform to showcase our city and province like never before, making promoting Alberta as a destination for tourism, investment and talent attraction,” said Sohi.

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“I sincerely hope the Government of Alberta will support this exciting opportunity to not only give Albertans something to look forward to, but to stimulate our economy at a time when it is so desperately needed,” he added. .

Team Canada's Alphonso Davies leaves the field with the Canadian flag above his head after his team beat team Costa Rica 1-0 in a World Cup qualifying soccer match FIFA 2022 held at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada on Friday 12th November 2021.
Team Canada’s Alphonso Davies leaves the field with the Canadian flag above his head after his team beat team Costa Rica 1-0 in a World Cup qualifying soccer match FIFA 2022 held at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada on Friday 12th November 2021. Photo by Larry Wong /Postmedia

It was expected that FIFA would choose a city in each country to host an “opening match” and that Edmonton, in particular with the city’s history with FIFA, including hosting the match of opening of the 2015 Women’s World Cup in which Canada’s Christine Sinclair scored the winner against China. would be the obvious choice.

It was also expected that Edmonton being the home of international superstar Alphonso Davies would make it a no-brainer.

“To see our hometown hero, Alphonso Davies, play in the 2026 World Cup in the city that gave him his start… well, I just can’t think of anything more exciting for Edmontonians.

“We also need that hope and optimism more than ever. Hosting the FIFA World Cup in Edmonton will not only help Albertans feel proud during an incredibly difficult time, but will also help bring people together and showcase our province to the world in a positive way.

It’s the second biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and after the last two Olympics, I’m not sure it’s still second. Someone should make sure Kenney knows about this.

Giving this chance to a short-sighted and remorseful British Columbia government would be unforgivable.

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