Australia scrambles to find Commonwealth Games host


Commonwealth Games update Nov 2023 Image: Commonwealth Games Australia

Australia has just three months to find a host city for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with the possibility the event could be postponed until 2027.

According to ‘The Guardian’, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) bosses say that finding an Australian host for the 2026 edition remains a priority.

The Commonwealth Games 2026 are currently without a host. The State of Victoria was initially announced as the host in April 2022 after two months of an exclusive dialog process with the 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.

CGF chief executive, Katie Sadleir, says three other unnamed regions in Australia have emerged as potential candidates to host a Games in 2026 or 2027.

The Guardian said she told reporters, “We have been working intensely with Commonwealth Games Australia. They are very, very keen to keep the Games in Australia and so we’re working to support them with their inquiries.

“And then there are three other regions that we are having conversations with, but they are very much of a preliminary sort of stage. But our aim is to be in a situation early in the new year to make a call on where a Games might go in 2026, 2027 or whether or not we might do something a bit different.

“We have started looking at alternative models and we’ll be continuing on with that work as well as we seek a host for ‘26. Nothing is sure. It’s a very short period of time for which to find a host.”

Sadleir said a decision was likely in February and postponing the Games until 2027 was on the table.

Gold Coast mayor, Tom Tate, has offered to step in for an estimated A$700m cost but Queensland’s government has ruled out support.

Craig Phillips, chief executive of Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA), said at the CGF’s recent general assembly in Singapore that he is waiting for a formal proposal from the Gold Coast, the host of the 2018 Games.

Phillips said, “They have still got to work through internally what that could look like and also any ongoing conversations with the Queensland government in terms of their support. Clearly a Games anywhere in Australia needs a lot of state government support.”

Phillips said other Commonwealth nations wanted Australia to host the next Games.

“There is a lot of support from our colleagues for the Games to still happen in Australia somewhere, which has been encouraging,” he said. “They have thrown their support behind us doing that.”

Phillips said CGA would also continue canvassing other Australian states.

“Obviously we’re preparing for conversations with different states, the work continues between us and the CGF in terms of framing what that could look like,” he said.

“Being here and meeting with the CGF has given us an opportunity to progress things, but we’re still in that situation of getting ourselves ready for those conversations.”

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.

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