Commonwealth Games one year delay possible with three new regions in discussions to host next edition

With Victoria, Australia canceling plans to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, organizers are struggling to site the quadrennial event on short notice.

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) leadership laid out short term plans to site the next edition of the multi-sport event this week at its General Assembly held in Singapore.

CGF chief Katie Sadleir hopes greater clarity on the event’s future will come by next February after further discussions with Australian stakeholders and as many as three other interested regions.

“We have been working intensely with Commonwealth Games Australia,” Sadleir told reporters Wednesday according to The Guardian.

“They are very, very keen to keep the Games in Australia and so we’re working to support them with their inquiries.”

In July Victoria in Australia canceled plans to host in 2026 citing huge cost overruns following changes that were to make the event more regional across the state. That resulted in more construction requirements and a greater spend and the multi-billion dollar price tag was rejected by the government.

Gold Coast, host of the 2018 edition, offered to fill in at a cost of AUD $700 million (USD $452 million) but the Queensland state government that is already preparing for the 2032 Summer Olympic Games refused to support the project. Discussions are reportedly still underway to return the event to Gold Coast and CGF officials are supporting the talks.

“They have still got to work through internally what that could look like and also any ongoing conversations with the Queensland government in terms of their support,” Commonwealth Games Australia Craig Phillips said, according to The Guardian.

“Clearly a Games anywhere in Australia needs a lot of state government support.”

“And then there are three other regions that we are having conversations with but they are very much of a preliminary sort of stage,” Sadleir added.

“But our aim is to be in a situation early in the new year to make a call on where a Games might go in 2026, 2027 or whether or not we might do something a bit different.

“We have started looking at alternative models and we’ll be continuing on with that work as well as we seek a host for ‘26.

“… Nothing is sure. It’s a very short period of time for which to find a host.”

That’s why delaying the Games until 2027 is becoming more and more likely.

Chris Jenkins was elected new president of the CGF in Singapore on the platform of redesigning the event for the future and reducing hosting costs to make it accessible to more countries.

“I am committed to managing change, delivering on promises, and making things happen,” he said.

“Working together, we will ensure a sustainable and inspiring future for our Commonwealth Games family.”

Victoria was elected to host the 2026 edition unopposed in 2022 after a series of delays forced the decision almost three years behind schedule. The CGF’s troubles began in 2015 when Durban in South Africa was elected to host in 2022 after rival Edmonton in Canada dropped out due to the depressed oil industry.

Two years later Durban was stripped of the Games by the CGF when financial milestones were missed. Birmingham England, already preparing a bid for the 2026 edition, was elected to replace Durban. That cleared the candidates for 2026 and delayed the election as new candidates remined elusive.

Hamilton, hoping to host the 2030 centennial of the inaugural Games hosted in the Canadian city, was given an exclusive opportunity to stage the 2026 event but the offer was turned down by the Ontario provincial government as they focus on staging FIFA World Cup events that same year.

That left the CGF in talks with Victoria that ultimately led to the election in 2022.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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