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Commonwealth Games in doubt as Australian state withdraws from hosting

18 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Geraint Thomas with the bronze medal after finishing 3rd in the Individual Time Trial at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Photo David Davies PA Images

John Besley and Cormac Pearson, PA

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has said the Victorian state government’s decision to withdraw as host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games is “hugely disappointing”.

The CGF said in a statement it was given only eight hours’ notice of the decision, which was announced by Victoria’s state premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday morning.

Andrews told media in Melbourne the original budget for the games was estimated to be around 2.6 billion dollars (£1.3 billion) but had ballooned out to nearly triple that.

He said: “Last year when the Commonwealth Games authorities approached us and needed someone to step in to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, as a state we were happy to help out, but of course not at any price.

“I’ve made a lot of difficult decisions in this job, this is not one of them.

“It’s just quite obvious, we are not going to spend six to seven billion dollars on a 12-day sporting event.

“We don’t just make popular decisions, we do what’s right and it would simply be wrong.”

The CGF responded by saying it was taken aback by the announcement.

Expense

It said in a statement: “This is hugely disappointing for the Commonwealth Sport Movement, for athletes around the Commonwealth and the Organising Committee who are well advanced in their planning and preparation.

“The reasons given are financial. The numbers quoted to us today of 6 billion dollars are 50% more than those advised to the Organising Committee board at its meeting in June.

“These figures are attributed to price escalation primarily due to the unique regional delivery model that Victoria chose for these Games, and in particular relate to village and venue builds and transport infrastructure.”

The 2026 Commonwealth Games were set to be held in regional Victoria across towns like Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland and Shepparton.

The CGF statement continued: “Since awarding Victoria the Games, the Government has made decisions to include more sports and an additional regional hub, and changed plans for venues, all of which have added considerable expense, often against the advice of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA).

“We are disappointed that we were only given eight hours’ notice and that no consideration was given to discussing the situation to jointly find solutions prior to this decision being reached by the Government.

“Up until this point, the Government had advised that sufficient funding was available to deliver the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.”

The CGF said it remains “committed to finding a solution for the Games in 2026 that is in the best interest of our athletes and the wider Commonwealth Sport Movement”.

Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games five times, including on the Gold Coast in 2018 and in the Victorian capital of Melbourne in 2006.


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Gareth Westacott
Gareth Westacott
11 months ago

Good for them! It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 months ago

Only if you carry on prioritising nukes and other national virility symbols that end up hurting people or sitting on a shelf for decades. I’m sure that people in Oz can point to other vanity projects being financed without questions asked by government. Kicking an international sporting event into touch, or beyond, is an easy gesture to make when you are an overweight flabby politician. More sport and less oppression would help ease a lot of tensions.

Magic Iolo
Magic Iolo
11 months ago

It’s colonial overhang that has had its day. Ok, it is a sporting festival and we get to see Team Cymru which is great, but it is time draw a line under it and move on. Instead, let’s see a full Team Cymru at the Olympics where we are not preached at by an anachronistic monarchy that is the peak of the damaging class system which holds our nation back.

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