In a short ceremony in London Monday, Durban South Africa is set to confirm that it is bidding to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It will be the only city to enter the race.
Durban officials will hand a 600-page bid book to Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) officials during the brief mid-day ceremony at the official residence of London’s Lord Mayor. Despite the unopposed bid, the CGF will still follow due process.
Bidding for and Hosting the Commonwealth Games is reportedly seen as a possible dress rehearsal for a possible 2028 Olympic bid. No African country has hosted either event.
South Africa proposes holding a 12-day Commonwealth Games from July 18 – birthday of the late Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
South African Olympic body head Gideon Sam told reporters, “the 2022 Games will be affordable. About 95 per cent of infrastructure is in place”.
He says an economic impact study predicts visitors to the Games would spend 12 billion rand ($1 billion USD). There would also be revenue ticket sales and shares of broadcast and sponsorship deals.
According to officials the emphasis will be on upgrading existing facilities with only an athletes’ village and a shooting range to be built from scratch.
Most of the venues will be within 2.5 km of the main Moses Mabhida Stadium, a 2010 FIFA World Cup venue.
Sam said, “if you look at Durban, the main stadium is in place, the swimming pool is in place, the athletics track is in place”.
Durban bid committee chief executive Tubby Reddy cautioned against linking the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games. He said, “the Olympics is a completely different ball game when it comes to costs. To give one example, a Commonwealth Games gymnastics venue requires 5,000 seats, but you need 15,000 for an Olympics”.
Edmonton recently withdrew from the 2022 Commonwealth Games bid due to a projected city budget deficit resulting from the drop in oil prices. The Canadian city had been seen as the favourite in the race.