NOlympics LA Statement On 2026 World Cup Bid

The NOlympics LA coalition issued the following statement in response to the Los Angeles City Council hearing today, which will kick-start the process to rubber stamp a 2026 World Cup bid:

“The prospect of Los Angeles hosting World Cup matches in 2026 is not surprising, but it presents another huge problem. The World Cup bid is an obvious attempt to replicate the scenario in Rio, where the World Cup was a smaller scale test before the Olympics. Now, our local elected politicians will likely try to make that happen in Los Angeles without asking the difficult questions.

“A World Cup threatens many communities in Los Angeles for similar reasons the 2028 Olympic bid does; it displaces citizens and adds fuel to the police militarization fire despite its promises of ‘no new arena construction’ and ‘reasonable budgets.’ The World Cup also relies on an undemocratic process, led by a group of unaccountable and corrupt billionaires.

“Like the Olympics, the World Cup creates a state of exception wherein civil liberties are suspended to create the appearance of a ‘world class’ city, disproportionately impacting our most vulnerable populations. This not only occurred in Rio in 2014, but during the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Across the country, in cities as diverse as Chicago and Dallas, authorities used the event as an excuse to bulldoze encampments and displace longtime homeless populations. These kinds of dehumanizing sweeps are already occurring en masse in Los Angeles.

“Of course, human rights violations are of no concern to the special interests behind the World Cup bid — real estate speculators and developers, media conglomerates, tech companies, elected officials whose help can be bought at City Hall, and of course FIFA: one of the few groups on par with the IOC in terms of truly shameless corruption.

“The early details of this proposed World Cup bid seem to indicate communities in Inglewood and Pasadena are the most vulnerable. NOlympics LA will be watching the bid process very closely and working with groups in those areas as it develops to make sure their voices are part of the conversation. That is, if our local elected officials are going to listen to the residents of Los Angeles versus a handful of billionaires and millionaires.

“We will be working with interests around the city to investigate all of the ways in which this is another lead balloon they think we’re too disenfranchised or disillusioned to fight. Don’t believe them.”