Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC) is seeking a guarantee from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) that Canada can play host to the 2030 centennial edition of the Games.
The CGF is set to meet at the Gold Coast 2018 Games being staged in Australia from April 4 to 15 when the 2026 bid process is expected to be launched. But CGC CEO Brian MacPherson wants to skip that process and fast-forward to a 2030 Games without contest.
“It will be in our plan to ask for that,” MacPherson told Canada’s National Post.
“Given that it’s the 100th anniversary and it’s been so long since Canada hosted our international friends, just give us the Games.”
The Games were born as the British Empire Games when they were launched in Hamilton, Ontario in 1930. The Games were last staged in Canada in 1994 when Victoria, British Columbia hosted the quadrennial event.
Canada has had a poor bidding record since, pulling out of the race three times in the past decade. A 2014 bid from Halifax exited the race after city officials balked at the CAD $1.7 billion price tag. Later, Edmonton campaigned for the 2022 event before plummeting oil prices reduced the city’s ability to contribute necessary funds – and plans were canceled.
An uncontested bid from Durban was eventually awarded the 2022 Games, but the South African city was stripped of the Games when it missed financial milestones – and Victoria was among the cities hoping to stage the event instead. But the British Columbia capital failed to rally enough support and the Games went to Birmingham instead.
“As long as Calgary has a bid on the table for the 2026 Olympic Games, we would not entertain the 2026 Commonwealth Games,” McPherson said.
“We just won’t. Canada doesn’t need two major Games in the same year and certainly can’t afford two major Games.
“So we’re out of that game and we focus on 2030.
“We have interest from a number of cities, including (Edmonton). If we got the nod to host those Games, we will be open and transparent about domestically bidding and seeing which city rises to the top.”
Last year the City of Hamilton – site of the first Games in 1930 – decided against a bid for the centennial edition.
Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid has yet to receive necessary financial assurances from the provincial and federal governments and the City Council won’t move forward without them. The city is expected to decide whether to forward a bid by June and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will elect a winner in September 2019.
Canada is also part of the United 2026 FIFA World Cup bid with Mexico and the United States, and officials will decide between the North American bid and one from Morocco in July.
The Games have been staged in Canada four times including Vancouver in 1954 and Edmonton in 1978.
McPherson’s out-of-the-box thinking follows the recent double-allocation of the Olympic Games to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028 after few cities were interested in bidding for that costly event. The CGF has gone through similar struggles with Durban the only initial bid for the 2022 Games and just two British cities left standing when the replacement was named.
He said he’s been told by the CGF that the old bidding process is “dead,” according to the National Post.
The CGC Chief said the same kind of double-allocation could happen for the 2026 and 2030 Commonwealth Games but is suggesting that Canada be the only 2030 option, with a domestic process held later to determine the host city.
He did admit, however, that the chances of being handed the Games are minimal.
The host city of the 2026 Commonwealth Games is expected to be named in 2019.