CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago is dropping out of a bid to bring the World Cup to North America in 2026, accusing soccer’s international governing body of being unwilling to negotiate or provide necessary details to the city.
Chicago hosted World Cup games at Soldier Field in 1994, but has pulled out of the bid to host any games in 2026, even if the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) awards the tournament to North America in eight years. Chicago also previously dropped out of ultimately unsuccessful joint U.S. bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments.
“FIFA could not provide a basic level of certainty on some major unknowns that put our city and taxpayers at risk. The uncertainty for taxpayers, coupled with FIFA’s inflexibility and unwillingness to negotiate, were clear indications that further pursuit of the bid wasn’t in Chicago’s best interests,” Matthew McGrath, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said in a statement to the Associated Press.
FIFA insists that contracts with host cities contain a provision they be governed under Swiss law and give FIFA the ability to modify agreements at any time.
Vancouver, British Columbia, also dropped out. B.C. Tourism Minister Lisa Beare says provisions add “unknown costs and unknown risks to the B.C. taxpayers.”
Morocco also is bidding. The FIFA Congress votes June 13 in Moscow.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)