Adelaide Abandons Bid To Host 2026 Commonwealth Games After South Australia Loses Interest

Adelaide has canceled plans to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games after the South Australia Premier Steven Marshall claimed he is uninterested in the opportunity.

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games are underway in Australia (GC 2018 Photo)
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC 2018 Photo)

“Despite the widespread support for a Commonwealth Games bid, we have received confirmation from the premier that the Government is not interested in pursuing a Commonwealth Games for Adelaide,” Ben Houston, President of Commonwealth Games Australia told the Adelaide Advertiser Friday.

Just weeks ago state officials shrugged off an optimistic report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of CGA that described the benefits of hosting the Games, including a positive local economic boost.

“We accept the Government’s decision and thank them for considering a South Australian bid,” CGA President Ben Houston said.

News that the CGA will no longer campaign for a Games in Adelaide could come as a blow to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) just weeks after officials in Hamilton, Canada also admitted that the provincial government won’t support plans for 2026 due to the already-scheduled FIFA World Cup set to take place the same year in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Resistance to siting the Commonwealth Games in Hamilton, a city just 70 km from a proposed World Cup venue in provincial capital Toronto, has reportedly come directly from FIFA.

Hamilton 2026 president PJ Mercanti told local media this month “there was a letter that (Commonwealth Games President) Dame Louise Martin had prepared to FIFA’s leader Gianni Infantino, so at the federation level there has been some positive dialog.”

Hamilton 2026 Commonwealth Games Bid In Danger After Province Denies Funding Amid FIFA Conflict

“We believe there is a path forward to resolve whatever the issues are with FIFA and we’re hopeful.

“In the coming days and weeks we certainly expect there to be more robust dialog with FIFA directly.”

The CGF has given Hamilton the exclusive opportunity to bid for the 2026 event if the city will pivot from plans plans to host the centennial edition in 2030 in the same city where the original British Empire Games was inaugurated.

Earlier this year CGF Chief David Grevemberg said he had been “approached by a number of other potentially interested hosts for future Games” but other than remarks made by sport officials in India earlier this year, no other potential bids have been named.

But Houston hasn’t ruled out an Australian bid for the 2026 Games, vowing to continue his search for a site that could fill the hosting gap.

“We look forward to conversations with other states who might be interested in a 2026 Games bid as part of their big event vision for their state,” he said.

Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg

If that fails, the CGF could opt to delay the Games by one year and instead stage the large multi-sport event in 2027.

Earlier this month a spokesperson for Ontario Premier Doug Ford said “we encourage the city and bid group to consider pursuing this opportunity in 2027 or beyond in Hamilton and would entertain those discussions with the parties involved.”

Staging the quadrennial event in an alternate year would be a daunting task for the CGF due to the tightly integrated international sport schedule, but officials have yet to rule out the possibility.

Australia hosted the previous edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2018 in Gold Coast.  Birmingham, U.K. is set to host the Games 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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