May 10, 2023
By Jane Brown
Toronto’s hosting of 2026 World Cup games could end up being more expensive for the taxpayers of this city than originally thought.
According to a new report, a so called “sweetheart” deal with Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment was made by City of Toronto staff and was not viewed by city councillors and then Mayor John Tory before it was signed.
A letter written by the city manager confirms the deal with MLSE would see the city assume financial risk for the event, did not need council’s approval, and is binding.
The deal was approved by City of Toronto staff, who were authorized by Toronto city council last July to negotiate on their behalf.
In reaction, City Councillor Alejandra Bravo says the public expects councillors to provide oversight over public dollars.
“It’s clear in this case that the terms and the directions that were given to enter into negotiation just weren’t good enough,” Bravo explains.
“How this was done without council, it’s the price you pay for delegating too much power to the public service,” said Councillor James Pasternak.
A February letter of intent promised that MLSE would be kept “whole” for its role as host, including reimbursements for improvements to BMO Field and any lost revenues.
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