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Commonwealth Games

Gold Coast drops Commonwealth Games 2026 bid, leaving CGF in crisis

Published at :December 6, 2023 at 1:00 AM
Modified at :December 14, 2023 at 10:24 AM
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Ajay Gandhar

The Australian city follows Victoria and Alberta in pulling out of hosting the event

Gold Coast which hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games, has announced that it will not bid for the Commonwealth Games 2026. The decision comes after the federal and state governments refused to support the bid, citing financial and logistical challenges.

The mayor of the Gold Coast, Tom Tate, said in a statement that the city’s vision for the Games did not align with that of the higher authorities. He said: “We did our best and that’s all people can expect. In simple terms, it seems our Games’ vision doesn’t align with the vision of the state or federal governments.”

The withdrawal of the Gold Coast leaves the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in a difficult situation, as it has no confirmed host for the 2026 edition of the Games. The previous host, Victoria, pulled out in July due to the cost of the event exceeding the estimates by around AUS$5 billion (US$3.3 billion). The state agreed to pay a settlement of AUS$380 million (US$252 million) to the CGF and its partners for the cancellation.

The CGF has said that it may have to postpone or cancel the 2026 Games, as it continues to search for a viable alternative. The only option left in Australia is Perth, which has expressed interest in hosting the event but has not made a formal bid yet. The CGF has also approached other potential hosts, such as Birmingham, England, which hosted the 2022 Games, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which hosted the 1998 Games.

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The 2030 Games are also in jeopardy, as the only contender for that edition, Alberta, Canada, dropped its bid in August due to rising costs. The province had planned to host the event in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, but the estimated price tag of CAN$2.68 billion (US$1.98 billion) was deemed too high by the government and the public.

The Commonwealth Games is a prestigious event that showcases the sporting talent and cultural diversity of the Commonwealth nations and territories, many of which were once part of the British Empire. The event has been held every four years since 1930, except for 1942 and 1946, when it was canceled due to World War Two. The event features 19 sports, including athletics, swimming, cycling, rugby, cricket, and netball.

The CGF has said that it remains committed to delivering the 2026 and 2030 Games and that it is working with various stakeholders to find suitable solutions. The CGF has also said that it is open to exploring new and innovative formats for the Games, such as regional or multi-city hosting, to reduce the financial and environmental impact of the event.

The CGF hopes that the Commonwealth Games will continue to be a platform for celebrating the values of democracy, diversity, and human rights, and for promoting peace and cooperation among the Commonwealth nations.

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