The elected representatives of Los Angeles have taken a long look at what FIFA is selling, and they aren’t buying it.
Last night the L.A. Times reported that Los Angeles, one of 25 potential sites to host the World Cup jointly hosted by the U.S. Mexico and Canada in 2026, is considering not bidding due to financial concerns. In other words, the city doesn’t want to be ripped off.
An aide to Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson said the city would not make a bid because of concerns about the financial liability it would have in staging events. “The council president didn’t feel that the contract put forth by FIFA would make sound financial sense for the city,” spokeswoman Vanessa Rodriguez said.
L.A. had a Monday deadline to submit a bid to the United Bid Committee. Mayor Eric Garcetti has intervened, asking the committee to extend the deadline and noting the city must hold the tournament on “responsible terms”.
Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso, who worked on the report, said the host city contract contained “onerous” stipulations, including one that potentially required Los Angeles to provide police escorts, public transportation, parking and other city services at events at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. She also said that the contract allowed FIFA to change event requirements at any time and that there were no indemnification provisions in the contract that would protect the city.
Look, money talks. The idea of Los Angeles not participating in the World Cup is ludicrous. However, the city is facing a considerable number of sobering challenges in the not-too-distant future, including a full-blown homeless crisis. If the city can hold out for a more reasonable contract from global soccer’s governing body, they should.