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Latest costs for FIFA World Cup in Vancouver hidden by non-disclosure agreements

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B.C.'s government is requiring stakeholders involved in the FIFA World Cup to sign non-disclosure agreements that keep them from discussing the potential cost of the event, CTV News has learned.

On Friday, Vancouver’s mayor said he would like to reveal the estimated cost “as soon as possible” but that he was bound by confidentially agreements.

“We’d love to get the numbers out there, absolutely, because we believe in transparency as well,” Ken Sim said in a one-on-one interview. “What the public can take comfort in is we are looking at everything from a fiscally responsible perspective and if things aren’t working out, we would be the first ones to put our feet down and we have in the past and we’ll continue to do so.”

The day before, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow lamented the $80 million added to her city’s cost for six games, due to the addition of one extra game and inflation, saying she felt “saddled” with the event and would rather see the millions spent elsewhere.

Two years ago, the cost estimate for Vancouver was $260 million, but there’s been growing scrutiny on the price tag for the event after the city was awarded two more games than expected and the minister responsible continues to refuse to provide an updated estimate of the costs. 

When speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Tourism Minister Lana Popham insisted that “we don’t have those numbers yet” and that her staff is still working on an estimated price tag, but she also admitted she has a “ballpark number” that she was “not prepared to give.”

Popham added that she expected to “put out some numbers in the coming months,” and eventually acknowledged the costs “have changed substantially since we received news of getting two more games.”

Sim claimed he did not know the latest number himself, and that unlike Chow, he is an entrepreneur and sees things differently.

“With the extra games there are costs, but it’s a huge opportunity,” he said. “Anecdotally, (my) gut feel (is that) this is, you know, it’s a winner.”

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