Four nations have stepped up and met Friday’s deadline to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the international federation governing the event announced.
“Australia, Canada, Malaysia and the United Kingdom have submitted to the Commonwealth Games Federation expressions of interest in hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” David Grevemberg, Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said Friday.
The renewed interest in hosting the Games comes less than two months after Durban in South Africa was stripped of the event after it missed major milestones and financial commitments required when the city was awarded the Games in 2015. The city ran unopposed after Edmonton in Canada withdrew from the race when dropping oil prices impacted the city’s economy. Only the two cities had applied, half the number that are now seeking to become replacement hosts in a riskier compressed time frame.
A statement from the CGF said “this is the first step in a collaborative process that will see a clear and detailed set of criteria applied to any Games hosting ambitions.
“The process has been streamlined to be as agile as possible given the time available and to minimize costs for potential hosts, whilst maintaining the transformative ambitions of the Commonwealth Sports Movement.”
Bids from Victoria and Sydney in Australia have been submitted, but with the 2018 Games to be held in Gold Coast next year it is more probable the CGF would select a city from another nation. Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips said Friday that his organization has not been consulted and ultimately has the final say on these bids.
Phillips added “CGA is currently focused on a successful Gold Coast 2018 Games, and following that, will embark on a process to identify cities for a potential bid for 2026 and beyond.
“Ultimately, the decision to put forward an Australian bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation, lies with CGA.”
Canadian Commonwealth Games officials are considering reentering a bid from Edmonton, but this time possibly teaming up with a second Alberta city, Calgary, in order to minimize costs and risks. With Calgary investigating a possible bid for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games, however, it seems unlikely that the provincial and federal governments would back both projects for the same year.
Interest has also been revealed from Toronto, but city councilors there rejected fast-tracking the bid earlier this month and will need to wait until a meeting is held next month before any further investigation is possible. Toronto Mayor John Tory cautioned “it is a time-consuming, complex undertaking requiring years of preparation and unknown expense. I believe any move to proceed with a bid on these games will require great convincing.”
Birmingham and Liverpool had already been planning to bid for the 2026 edition and are most likely to be the on top of the UK list of potential bidders. Liverpool has expressed interest in sharing the event with Manchester, the hosts of the 2002 edition, in order to leverage the available venue legacy. London is also reportedly considering a bid, and could take advantage of venues used for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) President Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar said earlier in the month that the OCM are ready to submit a bid to host the Games if the government gives its consent. He told reporters “I believe Malaysia are capable of hosting the Commonwealth Games once again as we have done it in 1998.”
He added “with the facilities being built (and upgraded) for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, we are certainly on the right track to become a good host for the Commonwealth Games.”
The CGF statement concluded “an expert CGF Review Team will work with each country in the evaluation of proposals of potential host cities. This will include a rigorous on-the-ground feasibility assessment and dialogue regarding hosting capacity and capability, resourcing and legacy ambitions, before a recommendation is made to the CGF Executive Board for final review and decision.”
The process is not expected to be complete until “early autumn” this year which means the winning city will have only five instead of the usual seven years to prepare for the Games.
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.