Victoria keen to host 2026 Commonwealth Games


2026 Commonwealth Games in Australia Image: Kardinia Park

The Victorian Government (Australia) has signed a Heads of Agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games Australia to enter exclusive negotiations for the hosting of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The ‘Australasian Leisure Management’ stated that advising that it will “deliver a model of Games unprecedented in the competition’s history” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula confirmed on February 16th that, if awarded, the 2026 Commonwealth Games they will primarily be an event hosted in regional Victoria.

The Commonwealth Games, often referred to as the Friendly Games, is an international multisport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930, and, with the exception of 1942 and 1946, has taken place every four years since then.

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

Melbourne, Victoria (Australia)-headquartered Commonwealth Games Australia is the Commonwealth Games Association for Australia, and is responsible for representing and promoting the Commonwealth Sport movement in the country, and organizes the participation of athletes at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games.

The 2026 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XXIII Commonwealth Games, is a multisport event for members of the Commonwealth to be organized in a City designated by the Commonwealth Games Federation. The Host City was initially intended to be selected at the 2019 Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda.

The ‘Australasian Leisure Management’ further stated that the parties will now enter into two-month negotiation period for the Games hosting during which the Victorian Government and the Commonwealth Games Federation will negotiate on the commercial aspects of the event.

Advising that while hosting the Games were not a certainty, Premier Andrews expressed his confidence that the State will secure the event, noting “we’re confident, we wouldn’t sign it if we didn’t think we could get an outcome”.

He added, “These will be Games like no others and that will be great for regional Victoria, great for the State, for jobs, for investments, for confidence” going on to say that the Games hosting and a simultaneous arts and culture festival would reassert Victoria as “the sporting and events capital of the country”.

The regional hosting will tap into an alliance of 11 regional Victorian centers, including Shepparton, Bendigo, Geelong, Traralgon, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Nagambie, Wodonga, and Yarrawonga, that had previously launched a campaign for Greater Victoria to host the 2030 Games.

Premier Andrews said some regional locations such as Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo would be “self-starters” that already had the necessary facilities to host events, adding that further infrastructure funding would be needed to prepare regional locations for the Games.

An advantage of hosting the Games in regional Victoria during Winter or early Autumn time slot is that there would be a need to negotiate with the Australian Football League (AFL) to host athletic events at a major Melbourne stadium.

However, the Geelong Football Club home ground of the 40,000-capacity GMHBA Stadium in South Geelong, Australia, may well be the location for ceremonial events and the track and field competition which might require negotiations with the club.

Welcoming the potential hosting, Commonwealth Games Australia President, Ben Houston, stated “Hosting great Games is a key pillar in the Commonwealth Games Australia strategic plan and given our window for hosting the Games is 2026, we are thrilled to join the Commonwealth Games Federation in exclusive dialog with Victoria to host the Commonwealth Games once again.”

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