Mayor Emanuel Explains Why Chicago Pulled Out Of 2026 World Cup

Craig Dellimore
June 19, 2018 - 8:50 am

PA Images/Sipa USA

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Mayor Emanuel is explaining why you won't be seeing any World Cup soccer matches in Chicago anytime soon.

Mayor Emanuel said Chicago has held many sports and sports-related events in recent years; and the city was part of the bid to bring World Cup soccer to North America in 2026, offering to host matches.

But city officials withdrew their participation months later citing financial commitments that FIFA, the soccer federation wanted from the city. The Mayor said FIFA wanted an extraordinary financial commitment, that he was unwilling to give.

"We'd love to have the sporting event. We are a great soccer town, with all the communities from around the world and the United States, that love soccer, but that said, they wanted a blank check from the tax payers and I told them absolutely not. I said uh-uh. I am not having the tax payers underwrite this sporting event and allow you to charge like an empty credit card with an unlimited account on the tax payers," Mayor Emanuel said. 

Chicago not only hosted some World Cup games at Soldier Field in 1994, but also the opening ceremonies. The stadium also hosted the women's World Cup in 1999.