After Durban, South Africa was stripped of the hosting duties for the 2022 Commonwealth Games last week, it took only hours before several cities – some already preparing to bid for the 2026 edition – came forward to offer to stage the Games instead.
Four Australian cities have already expressed interest in staging the 2022 Games, but with the continent already set to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, there are doubts that the same nation will be chosen to host back-to-back events.
Still, as Gold Coast itself denied interest in a repeat Games, Melbourne officials indicated that it was ready to move forward with a bid. And over the weekend it emerged that the cities of Sydney – host of the 2000 Olympic Games – Perth and Adelaide are willing to throw their hats into the mix.
The Sunday Morning Herald reported that Australia had already been planning to back up Durban, if it became necessary. Australia Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) president Sam Coffa said it has been in the works for the past 12 months.
“As early as August [last year] I put my hand up to say [to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)] ‘should there be a problem with a host city for 2022, then Australia would consider hosting the Games in Australia’,” he said.
But although Australia is enthusiastic and capable of bringing the Games back down-under in 2022, the prospect remains doubtful, except as a last-resort. CGF rules encourage the Games to move around and prohibit repeat Games in the same region if other capable options are open.
In this case, it seems other options in Britain will be available and viable. Liverpool and Birmingham have already been developing plans for a 2026 Games bid and London and Manchester are also discussing potential campaigns. As well, there is interest from Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and Edmonton, Canada – the latter having dropped out of the 2022 race due to economic concerns, leaving Durban as the last standing candidate.
The Australian reported that senior CGA officials said they had not been approached by the CGF and are not pushing for an Australian bid for the 2022 Games saying that it would be better for the organization if they were held elsewhere. They won’t consider any proposals unless it becomes necessary and they’re asked to help.
The CGF has yet to announce any timetable for the selection of a replacement city. Durban, elected unopposed in 2015, would have been the first African Commonwealth Games host city had it not been dropped by the CGF due to missed key deadlines and payments.