The future of the Commonwealth Games 2026 hangs in the balance as the Australian state of Victoria steps back from hosting them due to rising costs. The Commonwealth Games Federation(CGF) had already struggled to find a hosting candidate before it appointed Victoria in April 2022.
CFG said that they were updated about the withdrawal of Victoria as a host just before eight hours of the decision. The Commonwealth Games Federation described the decision as “hugely disappointing.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews Cancels the Plan to Host the Commonwealth Games 2026 Due to Spiralling Costs
The Commonwealth Games are a quadrennial multi-sport tournament. They have only been cancelled twice, in 1942 and 1946, during World War II.
To be a part of the games, competitors must be from one of the Commonwealth’s 56 member countries. The 2026 Commonwealth Games were to be held in four regional hubs in Victoria.
According to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, the cost of hosting a 12-day tournament was expected to reach more than $6 billion. This was in contrast to the initial expected budget of $2.6 billion. As per his statement, the amount for hosting the games could better benefit Victoria’s economy instead. In his statement, Andres said, “I will not take money out of hospitals and schools to fund an event that is three times the cost as estimated and budgeted for last year.”
He further added, ‘I’ve made a lot of difficult calls and a lot of very difficult decisions in this job. This is not one of them,’ he told a press conference.
“That is all cost and no benefit.”
As promised, the government will still finish upgrading the stadium, using the money it is now saving on tourism and housing initiatives.
The global governing body (CFG) believes that Victoria is overestimating the cost and that it is a mere exaggeration.
What’s Next For the Commonwealth Games 2026?
Victoria’s decision not only frustrated the athletes but also put the entire future of the Commonwealth Games 2026 in question.
In 2019, authorities considered Birmingham to host the 2026 Games. However, in 2022, they ruled out South Africa from hosting rights due to the preparations not being up to standard, creating a loophole in the schedule. Birmingham stepped in to host the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Cardiff, Kuala Lumpur, Calgary, Adelaide, and Edmonton all poured cold water on the idea of hosting the 2026 Games because of financial constraints. Finally, Victoria was the only viable candidate for them.
As the current cost estimates exceed $6 billion AUD compared to the original $2.6 billion AUD, Daniel Andrews is adamant in his decision to no longer host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
The 2026 Games were already struggling to take place with an overly crowded sporting calendar. Critics have already criticized the Games for their colonial origins and their inability to attract younger audiences.
The Commonwealth Games Federation fully commits to finding a way out for the 2026 Games. Authorities are encouraging cities and towns in the UK to step up and bid for the hosting of the 2026 Games. Speculation has been that, with only three years to go, it has to go back to Birmingham. Otherwise, the only Commonwealth member that could be interested would be either Malaysia or India. Apart from that, most countries, including Canada, are unwilling to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.