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Commonwealth Games: Replacement host search may delay event until 2027

CGA CEO Craig Phillips says replacement host city could get extra time to prepare.

11 September 2023 Josh Sim
The 2026 Commonwealth Games may be delayed by up to a year as it looks for a new host.

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  • Victoria withdrew as the Games’ host after citing ballooning costs
  • Phillips suggests a “scaled back” edition of the Games may have to take place

Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) chief executive Craig Phillips has said the 2026 Commonwealth Games may be pushed back by a year as organisers continue to search for a replacement host for the event.

The Australian state of Victoria announced in July that it would withdraw as the Games’ host, with the local government citing costs surpassing initial estimates by around AUS$5 billion (US$3.22 billion). Victoria last month agreed to pay AUS$380 million (US$244.68 million) in compensation.

Despite representatives from cities such as Perth and Gold Coast having expressed interest in staging the games, no Australian state government has officially tabled a bid. Speaking at a Senate inquiry examining the Victorian government’s decision to withdraw as the Games’ host, Phillips said the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) was “open” to the event moving back a year to give a replacement city enough time to prepare accordingly.

“The CGF have indicated that they are open to the Games moving to give any potential host more time,” Phillips said. “It’s something we’re looking at in terms of any state that we do talk to.”

Phillips also said there was plenty for CGA to do in order to “dismantle” the event’s “price tag” that the Victorian government had placed. While stating that other countries “expect an Australian solution”, he did admit CGA was “not ready” to make an approach to state, territory or local governments about stepping in as a replacement host.

“It may be a scaled back version of the Games, given the time we have, but if you look around the capital cities around Australia … all have the capability of hosting games,” he said.

“Even some of the smaller cities around the country have that capability of certainly contributing to a game. We have to look at all possible models – a single-city games, a shared hosting arrangement.”

Phillips added that he expected to present a solution to the CGF general assembly, which is set to meet in Singapore in November.

SportsPro says…

Phillips’ comments back up a recent interview CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir gave to Inside The Games, where she also suggested the organisation would consider giving a potential replacement host extra time to prepare for the event.

At the inquiry, the CGA’s chief executive appears to suggest that the Games’ new host is likely to come from Australia, with the mayors of both Gold Coast and Perth having thrown their respective cities forward as possible replacements. However, both the Queensland and Western Australian state governments have poured cold water over making a hosting bid, with the costs cited by their Victorian counterparts a major roadblock.

Even if organisers can have a solution in place by November, the event’s future remains uncertain. Canadian province Alberta has pulled its hosting bid for the 2030 Games, while a former adviser to Birmingham City Council has told the BBC the hosting of the 2022 event was “a challenge too far.”

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