8 Apr 2024

Commonwealth Games: 'Multiple proposals' being considered for new 2026 host

1:03 pm on 8 April 2024

By Dan Roan, BBC sports editor

General view during the Closing Ceremony of the XXII Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, 2022

An image from the closing ceremony of the XXII Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in 2022. Photo: Photosport

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) says it is "considering multiple proposals" to host the event in 2026, amid continued uncertainty over its long-term future.

Last week, Singapore joined Malaysia in ruling out a bid, after the Australian state of Victoria withdrew as the original host in July because of rising costs.

However, in its first public statement since the news, the CGF said "significant progress had been made", and it was "excited by the early concepts, which aim to reset and reframe the games".

It claimed it was working with a number of Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) over "further detailed assessments", with an aim to announce a host in May.

Athletes for Team India take part in the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, central England, on July 28, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Athletes for Team India are pictured at the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham in 2022. Photo: GLYN KIRK

It did not identify which countries were involved, saying the CGAs had asked to keep the proposals confidential.

"The CGF continues to accelerate work to refresh the games ... including exploring innovative new concepts," it said.

"Importantly, we have been focusing on how we can transform the games to a collaborative and truly sustainable model, minimising costs and reducing its environmental footprint, whilst increasing social impact."

Uncertainty remains after Birmingham 2022 'mistake'

Last month, Malaysia rejected an offer to step in and host the 2026 games, despite being offered £100 million (NZ$210m) by the CGF as supporting funds, with its sports ministry claiming it would not cover the overall cost of staging the event.

The games was also left out of a list of 70 major events that UK Sport said it wanted Britain to host in the next 15 years, with the funding agency questioning the value it offered in its current format.

Flag bearers at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

Flag bearers at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 2022 games in Birmingham cost almost £780m, with the city council and local partners contributing about £180m.

The event generated record ticket sales for a Commonwealth Games of 1.5 million, but last year a former adviser to Birmingham City Council said that hosting the event was a mistake.

Scrutiny has intensified after the council confirmed in February that it would raise council tax by 21 percent over the next two years amid budget savings after declaring itself effectively bankrupt.

However, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport says that a new evaluation report has found that the 2022 games contributed almost £1.2 billion to the UK economy, with almost half of that in the West Midlands.

New Zealand players celebrate

New Zealand players celebrate the last-minute equalising goal by Olivia Merry in the New Zealand Black Sticks v India women's hockey bronze medal match at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It says a surplus of £70m has been reinvested in the region as part of a Legacy Enhancement Fund, and the event boosted regeneration.

Birmingham stepped in after the South African city of Durban was stripped of hosting rights in 2017 after missing key deadlines.

A host for the 2030 Commonwealth Games is also yet to be confirmed after the government of Alberta, Canada withdrew its support for a bid.

- This story was first published by BBC

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