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No goal: Edmonton loses bid to host FIFA 2026 World Cup games

Critics blame conditions that came with provincial bid money as a key reason the city was passed over
Edmonton won't get the chance to host some of the games of FIFA World Cup 2026. Photo; Metro Creative Connection

Following Thursday's announcement that several soccer games of the FIFA World Cup 2026 won't include stops in Edmonton, critics point to a lack of infrastructure and conditions set out by the province attached to bid funding as likely reasons the city lost out to Toronto and Vancouver.

"Edmonton was robbed," wrote one soccer fan who took to Twitter following the announcement. "Was there a link to the demands from the provincial government? asked another fan on Twitter, referring to the Alberta government's money toward the bid that hinged on the condition five of the 10 games in Canada would be played in the Alberta capital, including two in knockout rounds. 

In the joint bid that also included the U.S. and Mexico, 16 host cities were chosen on this continent. Canada will host 10 games at Toronto’s BMO Field and B.C. Place in Vancouver, while another 10 will be played in Mexico. The remaining 60 games will take place at several locations across the U.S.

Edmonton mayor Amarjeet Sohi says the City advocated fiercely to host some of the World Cup 2026 games. "We had our provincial and federal government partners on board to provide funding, and most of all, we had the support of Edmontonians," said Sohi. “I am proud of the bid that we put forward."

Minister of Culture Ron Orr also expressed disappointment in losing the bid, saying in a statement, "Alberta’s government worked hard and committed a significant financial sum to help the bid along. Our province has hosted countless world-class sporting events. Commonwealth Stadium is the biggest facility in Western Canada and would play an excellent host."

An aging Commonwealth Stadium was also seen as a negative for the bid, as Toronto and Vancouver have newer stadiums. But even Commonwealth Stadium's anchor tenant, the Edmonton Elks issued a club statement about the decision, saying, "We know Edmonton would've been a tremendous host. We look forward to working with our partners at the City of Edmonton to ensure Commonwealth Stadium continues to evolve and is capable of hosting premier events."

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