“Resurgent” Commonwealth Games Launch Bid Process For Both 2026 and 2030

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Saturday announced the launch of an 18-month combined process to site the Commonwealth Games in 2026 and 2030.  Eligible countries will now be invited to express interest in hosting the Games, with 2026 set to be awarded September 2019 at the CGF General Assembly, and possibly 2030.

After having just recently elected a final 2022 host city last year after a three-year delay – the CGF will now shift to a long-term collaborative approach for the future.

In a statement, the CGF described itself as “resurgent” and ready to leverage its new Games delivery model and partnerships model to immediately secure host cities for the next two editions.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin said “With the much-anticipated Gold Coast 2018 about to burst into life and confirmation of Birmingham as host city partner for 2022, all our efforts are focused on capitalizing on this forward momentum and the renewed relevance in our Commonwealth.”

Last year the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seized the opportunity represented by two strong Olympic Games candidates for 2024 and awarded Paris and Los Angeles consecutive 2024 and 2028 Games with one unprecedented vote.

The CGF, like the IOC, is struggling to find host city candidates and now seems to be taking cues from the Olympic bid process which has been transformed to a more proactive and collaborative approach with softer rules.

Durban in South Africa had been elected, unopposed, to host the Games in 2022 but after missing key financial milestones the CGF stripped the city of the Games – then immediately launched a campaign to find its replacement. Three countries came forward including Britain, Canada and Malaysia, and Australia also offered to help if no other plans materialized.  But the time was too short for Victoria in Canada and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to organize support and ultimately Birmingham was awarded the Games.

Last week Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC) CEO Brian MacPherson said that he wanted to leave Gold Coast this month with a commitment from the CGF to allow Canada to host the Centenary Games in the country where it started.  Hamilton, Ontario was the host city in 1930 but its city council last year voted against the proposal.  Victoria and Toronto are among potential candidates for a 2030 Games.

Birmingham, UK reveal 2022 Commonwealth Games Project (Birmingham 2022 Photo)

Birmingham, UK was elected to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games (Birmingham 2022 Photo)

MacPherson added that a 2026 bid has been ruled out because Calgary in Canada is already in the running for the Olympic Winter Games that year.  Canada is also involved in a joint North American bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

It is thought Kuala Lumpur will be ready to make a bid for the 2026 edition as well as cities in Australia, but CGF Chief David Grevemberg said several other cities are interested too.

Cities from across the 71 Commonwealth Games Associations have until December 31 this year to join the bid process.  The CGF has only committed to electing the 2026 host city at the September 2019 General Assembly, but the joint award with 2030 is possible if approved by the membership.  If so, it would be the first time two host cities were chosen to host the Commonwealth Games at one time.

Martin said “We confirmed today that we will begin an innovative and ambitious host city appointment process to secure hosts for the 2026 and potentially 2030 Commonwealth Games simultaneously, with the ambition to make an announcement at the next CGF General Assembly in September 2019.

“We will soon begin the process of reaching out to our 71 Commonwealth Games Associations and their national and local government partners to better understand their ambitions for their citizens and communities.

“As we celebrate and support the thousands of Commonwealth athletes here on the Gold Coast, and work hand-in-hand with local and national partners to realize the benefits of the Games on the host community, there is no better reminder of the transformative impact and social foundations of the Commonwealth Sports Movement.”

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will run from April 4 to April 15.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.