The Australian state of Victoria has pulled out of hosting the 2026 Games due to financial considerations, leaving the Commonwealth Games Federation with just three years to find an alternative solution.
“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 Commonwealth Games Federation said in a statement.
The Victorian government cited escalating costs as the reason for backing out of its hosting agreement – but the CGF said that the rising costs were down to Victoria’s choice of delivery model.
“The numbers quoted to us today of $6 billion are 50% more than those advised to the Organising Committee board at its meeting in June,” the statement said.
“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.
“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.
“We are taking advice on the options available to us and remain 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.”
The UK city of Birmingham, which stepped in to host the 2022 Games when Durban pulled out five years before the Games, has been mentioned as a possible contingency.
The immediate previous hosts were Gold Coast and Glasgow.
Host City 2023, the largest meeting of cities and sports, business and cultural events, takes place in Glasgow on 20-21 November.