2026 Commonwealth Games face-saving exercise


Gold Coast wants to rescue 2026 Commonwealth Games Image: Carrara Stadium, Kgbo, CC BY-SA 4.0

Gold Coast (City in Australia) Mayor Tom Tate has announced ambitious plans to salvage the 2026 Commonwealth Games, following the withdrawal of Victoria as the host in July.

‘Gold Coast Ministry of Sport’ stated that Mayor Tate held discussions with the Commonwealth Games Australia head honcho Craig Phillips and representatives from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) recently to explore the possibility of Gold Coast – which staged the 2018 edition of the event – stepping in as the new host.

The 2026 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XXIII Commonwealth Games, is a proposed multisport event for members of the Commonwealth. The 2026 Commonwealth Games would be the first to be held since the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III as the Head of the Commonwealth on September 8th, 2022.

The Commonwealth Games are currently without a host. Victoria (Australia) was initially announced as the host in April 2022 after two months of an exclusive dialog process with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). However, on July 18th, 2023, Victoria announced that it had canceled its plans to host the Games, citing an escalation in its cost projections relative to initial estimations.

South Melbourne (Australia)-based the Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) is a member-based organization representing the sports participating in Commonwealth Games. The CGA exists to administer, control and coordinate the participation of the program sports and their respective athletes and officials in the Commonwealth Games.

London (UK)-based the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), currently known as the Commonwealth Sport, is the international organization responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games, and is the governing body of the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA).

The Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) is a National Sports Council that represents and regulates the Commonwealth Games Movement within each country.

‘Gold Coast Ministry of Sport’ further stated that an official pitch for the Games may be presented at the upcoming CGF General Assembly in Singapore, scheduled from November 11th-14th. However, a potential hurdle lies in gaining support from the Queensland Government (Australia).

Asserted Mayor Tate, “I’ve just concluded a very positive meeting with the CGF. Craig Phillips agrees that the Gold Coast is an excellent option for hosting the Games.”

Victoria pulled out as host of the 2026 Games, with then-Premier Daniel Andrews citing a ballooning budget of AUD$7 billion. Mayor Tate has outlined a streamlined project that he believes would cost only AUD$700 million. This revised approach is aimed at safeguarding Australia’s reputation.

Added Tate, “It is heartening for us to have a frank discussion regarding hosting the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Of course, there is a bit of a journey to do but the key point is this: We want to salvage Australia’s reputation. Because in the future years, nobody will remember Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Government, they will say ‘the Aussies are the ones who canceled the 2026 Commonwealth Games’.”

Mayor Tate emphasized on the economic benefits of hosting the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, estimating that it could inject AUD$2 billion into the local economy. The existing infrastructure from the successful 2018 Games would minimize the need for additional construction, making the event a potential dress rehearsal for the Brisbane 2032 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

The 2032 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXV Olympiad and also known as Brisbane 2032, is an upcoming international multisport event scheduled to take place from July 23rd-August 8th, 2032 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

The 2032 Summer Paralympics, officially the 19th Summer Paralympic Games and commonly known as Brisbane 2032, are an upcoming major international multisport event for athletes with disabilities governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) scheduled to be held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, from August 24th-September 5th, 2032.

Explained Tate, “I showed them our preliminary business case which proves that a scaled-down 2026 Games can be held on the Coast for around $700 million. This is a $2 billion-plus gift to the economy at no monetary cost to Queensland, apart from in-kind support at the time.”

Support from the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will be essential, as the State had previously expressed its focus on Brisbane 2032. The Queensland Sports Minister Stirling Hinchliffe had strongly opposed the idea of hosting the Commonwealth Games again.

Despite these challenges, Mayor Tate’s determined bid to revive the 2026 Commonwealth Games has received some support. Victoria’s Deputy Premier Ben Carroll has offered assistance to the Gold Coast’s efforts.

The CGF welcomes any interest in hosting the 2026 Games, given concerns about the event’s future following Victoria’s withdrawal. The economic benefits of a minimal investment leading to a significant return could make Gold Coast an attractive option.

Mayor Tate’s plan represents a beacon of hope for the Commonwealth Games, and the journey ahead will involve further discussions and negotiations to ensure the Games’ future in Australia. The specifics of the streamlined Games plan are yet to be disclosed.

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