FIFA World Cup 2017
England celebrating its win in the FIFA World Cup 2017. Photo: FIFA

Los Angeles’ effort to be part of the North American bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup is back on track Friday as issues over the host city contract that threatened to derail its participation appear to have been worked out.

Eight City Council members signed their names to a resolution that pledges the city’s support to a new limited liability company that has been formed to lead the city’s effort to participate in the bid.

After Los Angeles was selected among 32 potential host cities last year by the United Bid Committee for North America, a report earlier this month from City Administrator Sharon Tso, interim City Administrative Officer Rich Llewellyn and the City Attorney’s Office raised some red flags and pointed out logistical problems and financial risks that would be associated with hosting.

“The way the contract was written for the city of L.A. didn’t make sense,” Branamir Kvartuc, a spokesman for Councilman Joe Buscaino, told City News Service.

The contract issues have been worked out and Kvartuc said it appeared the city would be moving forward as part of the bid because the LLC will “absorb all of the potential risks.” The LLC includes the Anschutz Entertainment Group, Los Angeles Football Club and other major sports companies in the city, Kvartuc said.

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. The board was originally to be the signee of the host city contract with FIFA.

“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 to extend a deadline so the contract issues could be worked out.

A spokeswoman for Wesson did not immediately respond to a request to comment, but Wesson was one of the eight council members who signed the new resolution.

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.

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 the total economic impact projected for any one host city could generate approximately $400 million to $600 million.

–City News Service

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