The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) introduced a new strategic roadmap during the organization’s General Assembly held online Monday due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that forced the cancellation of last year’s meeting.
The CGF is more than two years behind its original schedule to lock in a host for the 2026 edition of the Games, and although officials continue to maintain that there are multiple interested parties bidding for the event – no solid evidence of such has emerged.
As series of recommendations unveiled in the roadmap “provides potential future hosts and sports with the renewed flexibility to be innovative and creative in delivering the Commonwealth Game,” a CGF statement read.
Addressing the cultural diversity among Commonwealth nations and the availability of venues and infrastructure to support featured sports – the CGF has significantly loosened the requirements for the sports program to help broaden interest and reduce costs. The roadmap labels only athletics and swimming as mandatory events at all Games while expanding the number of core sports from which each host can choose.
With a recommendation that featured sports are capped at 15, future hosts will have the option to nominate entirely new sports that have a regional cultural significance that could help local engagement.
Further work will be done to embrace links to the Youth Games; and e-sports will be explored with the possible inclusion of pilot events.
An integrated Para sport programme must remain a key and focal part of the Games, however, according to the new guidelines.
In order to cut costs and expand opportunities, the CGF will allow venue plans to include multiple cities or even cross international borders, and in some exceptional cases include venues in non-Commonwealth nations. Future hosts will be encouraged to find existing accommodations for athletes who can now housed at multiple sites instead of a single newly-constructed village.
“We are delighted to unveil our direction of travel with this new Strategic Roadmap, which I believe marks the start of an exciting new era for the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Sport,” CGF President Dame Louise Martin said following the virtual meeting.
“Our Games need to adapt, evolve and modernize to ensure we continue to maintain our relevance and prestige across the Commonwealth.
“After a long period of hard work and consultation, incorporating the views and opinions of our membership and experts across the world, we are excited to move forwards with this Roadmap.”
The next edition of the Commonwealth Games will be staged in Birmingham, England next year but no subsequent host cities have been named. Hamilton dropped out of the running for the 2026 Games as the sole candidate when it failed to receive provincial government support, but the same Canadian city has now opened a bid to host the 2030 centennial edition instead.
The new rules introduced Monday will make it easier for a prospective host to organize the Games in the reduced timeframe and the CGF aims to choose this partner next year.