The Los Angeles City Council appears set to pass a resolution Tuesday that would keep the city pursuing host city duties for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The city’s participation in the event was thrown into doubt earlier this month when some potential logistical problems and financial liability risks were noted in a report to the City Council, but those issues appear to have been negated after some sports companies in Los Angeles, including Anschutz Entertainment Group and the Los Angeles Football Club, formed a limited liability company with the intent on taking the lead on executing the host city contract.
The LLC will “absorb all of the potential risks” in hosting, Branamir Kvartuc, a spokesman for Councilman Joe Buscaino, told City News Service last week.
Among the problems with the potential host contract was that Los Angeles would be the official host city but the games would likely be played at a venue outside the city — the new NFL stadium under construction in Inglewood or the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The contract would have called for the city to provide police officers and other services at the venues, along with other guarantees, including that the airspace be free of commercial signage and advertising.
“We can’t do police support in Inglewood or Pasadena,” Kvartuc said.
FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, rejected amendments to the host city contract proposed by the Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Board, according to the city staff report from the offices of the chief legislative officer, city administrator and city attorney. The board was originally to be the signee of the host city contract with FIFA, with the city of L.A. to sign a memorandum of understanding with the LACTB, Kvartuc said.
“Not only could the city be liable for partial performance, or nonperformance, the city could also incur liability for damages resulting from the performance of other governmental entities or private parties,” the city staff report said.
As a result of the contract problems, Council President Herb Wesson never scheduled a vote for the host city agreement, according to Kvartuc, but Mayor Eric Garcetti intervened and asked the United Bid Committee, which is leading the North American bid, to extend a deadline so the contract issues could be worked out.
A spokeswoman for Wesson did not respond to a request to comment, but Wesson was one of the eight council members who signed the new resolution, which is scheduled to be voted on by the Trade, Travel and Tourism Committee, immediately followed by a vote by the full City Council.
In the last two weeks since the extension was granted, the LLC has been formed, and the cities of Inglewood and Pasadena have also provided letters of support to serve as potential venue hosts, Kvartuc said. The resolution under consideration by the City Council says the city will work “in good faith” with the host committee to negotiate a contract specifying the types and level of city services to be provided by the city for 2026 World Cup events.
If the North American bid is successful, the United States would stage 60 matches, and Mexico and Canada 10 apiece, and at least 12 cities will be selected as venues for games. The LATCB said in a report that any one host city could generate $400 million to $600 million in total economic impact as a result of serving as a World Cup host.
—City News Service
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