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B.C. Premier John Horgan told a news conference that Montreal’s decision to step away from its candidacy as a host city has created an opportunity for Vancouver.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

British Columbia’s Premier says the province is prepared to “entertain” the possibility of hosting 2026 FIFA World Cup games in Vancouver.

Premier John Horgan told a news conference that Montreal’s decision to step away from its candidacy as a host city has created an opportunity for Vancouver.

Montreal’s decision leaves Edmonton and Toronto as the only Canadian cities bidding to host games during the tournament, which is to be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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Horgan says he has been in contact with FIFA representatives in Canada and indicated that if the price tag is as high as it was last time British Columbia was considering a bid, it would still be “rich” for the provincial government.

However, he says a lot has changed since 2018, when the NDP had just taken power and was reviewing the fiscal situation as a minority government.

He says after the COVID-19 pandemic that has battered the tourism industry, the prospect of hosting the international event is not only appealing to passionate soccer fans but also to those who want to reintroduce Vancouver to the world.

“The prospect of inviting the world to Vancouver in 2026 all of a sudden takes on a whole new meaning,” Horgan said on Tuesday.

“We’re prepared to entertain those discussions and see where we go.”

Montreal said in a statement last week that it would pull its bid after the Quebec government withdrew its support, citing cost overruns.

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