Kuala Lumpur remains in the running to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) clarified Saturday at the end of a three-day visit by a team from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
However, earlier local reports Friday had suggested the Malaysian city had dropped out of the race because it had yet to receive the government go-ahead for the costly project.
According to a misinterpreted report from the Malaysian News Agency Bernama, OCM President Tunku Imran said that despite being shortlisted by the CGF to replace Durban, South Africa to host the Games – Kuala Lumpur is not interested at this time.
Imran was quoted to have said “we had a lot of experience in hosting multisports games including the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Everyone knows that it will cost a lot of money and therefore, I would like to stress that Malaysia will not make a bid to host the games.”
However in a statement, Tunku Imran clarified that the bid is still alive.
“It is important to clarify Malaysia’s interest in and engagement with the CGF as part of the exploratory process for a future Commonwealth Games, including exploring the potential for 2022 or 2026,” he said.
“This is not a traditional bid process but a partnership approach led by the CGF with prospective interested countries and we are delighted to be part of the selection process.
“We are committed to the power of sport and our place on the world stage and passionately believe there are enormous hosting benefits for Malaysia associated with the Commonwealth Games.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the CGF Team through the next stage of the host city selection process.”
CGF CEO David Grevemberg along with CGF members David Leather and Johan Baker were the three-member team to tour the facilities in Kuala Lumpur as it tries to find a replacement host city by the end of the year. The team visited Victoria and Toronto last week for similar inspections, however the latter Canadian city has since suffered a blow after a city report advised against the bid moving forward. Applications are due into the CGF in August.
Grevemberg’s team will depart Malaysia for Gold Coast in Australia, the location currently organizing the 2018 edition of the Games. Four cities on that continent are also contemplating bids for the 2022 Games but any visits there have yet to be confirmed.
Liverpool and Birmingham in Britain are the remaining contenders to host the Games, both considered the top favorites because they had already been preparing 2026 bids before Durban was stripped of its 2022 opportunity in March due to missed financial milestones.
Grevemberg said at a press conference Friday “this is my third visit to Malaysia since 2001 and I’m so impressed that during my stay for a few days (here) with the continuous development in Kuala Lumpur especially the refurbishment of several sporting venues, which indeed was a good example for the Commonwealth countries and the rest of the world.”
He confirmed that ten cities were originally short-listed by the CGF.
Durban had won the right to host the 2022 Games in 2015 as the only candidate in the running. Edmonton, Canada had dropped out of the race due to financial issues caused by slumping global oil prices.
Glasgow last hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2014.