The 2022 Commonwealth Games, held in Birmingham, has left uncertainties about the future hosts. The global multi-sport event is experiencing difficulties, as it lacks a host for its 2026 iteration and is struggling to find a suitable candidate for the subsequent edition four years later.
In the previous month, Victoria, an Australian state, withdrew from hosting the 2026 Games due to escalating costs. Alberta, Canada, the only confirmed potential bidder for the 2030 event, recently suspended its efforts to bring the games to the Canadian cities of Calgary and Edmonton.
The Commonwealth Games, first conducted in 1930, have been cancelled only once before during World War II. The event brings together athletes from the Commonwealth’s 56 member nations, most of which were formerly part of the British Empire.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is currently in a scramble to find a replacement host for the 2026 event after Victoria’s abrupt pullout. While Alberta was considering making a bid for the 2030 event, its decision to withdraw comes hot on the heels of Hamilton, Ontario suspending its bid due to insufficient government support.
With these recent withdrawals, there are increasing questions regarding the continued relevance and viability of the Games in the modern context. However, a spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dismissed the idea that Victoria’s withdrawal signifies a decline in the Commonwealth, citing the King’s coronation as a demonstration of the Commonwealth’s strength and the commitment of its member nations.
Escalating costs have made countries hesitant about hosting the Games. The projected cost for the Victoria event was A$2.6bn (£1.4bn), a figure that subsequently more than doubled. Alberta’s Tourism and Sport Minister Joseph Schow was deterred by an estimated cost of up to £1.57bn, primarily shouldered by taxpayers.
Despite these challenges, there are potential future hosts for the Commonwealth Games. Gold Coast, the host of the 2018 Games, is prepared to step in for the 2026 event, as announced by Mayor Tom Tate. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, expressed his support for a London bid to host the Games. The CGF is also considering hosting in new regions and even across multiple countries.
The Commonwealth Games still hold appeal for elite athletes, with netball coach Jess Thirlby considering it one of their pinnacle events. However, with other sports developing their own world championships, athletes are re-evaluating their targets.
Sports studies lecturer Steve Georgakis from the University of Sydney suggested that this could be the end of the Commonwealth Games following Victoria’s withdrawal. Lord Coe, on the other hand, believes the event has a future, albeit one that may require changes. Tom Bason, a sports event legacy expert, also suggested that a reimagining of the Commonwealth Games might be necessary, perhaps shifting towards a more festival-like event rather than a mini-Olympics.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Commonwealth Games Future
Who were the proposed hosts for the 2026 and 2030 Commonwealth Games?
The Australian state of Victoria had initially agreed to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, while the Canadian province of Alberta was the potential bidder for the 2030 edition.
Why did Victoria and Alberta withdraw from hosting the Commonwealth Games?
Victoria withdrew from hosting the 2026 Games due to rising costs, while Alberta halted its efforts to bring the 2030 event to the Canadian cities of Calgary and Edmonton for similar financial reasons.
What is the Commonwealth Games Federation doing to find new hosts?
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is actively looking for replacement hosts. They are considering options including potential interest from the UK and also exploring the feasibility of hosting in new regions and considering multi-country Games.
How does the future of the Commonwealth Games look?
The future of the Commonwealth Games is currently uncertain. Some experts suggest that the games might need to be reimagined, perhaps as a more festival-like event rather than a mini-Olympics, in order to survive.
Do the Commonwealth Games still hold appeal for elite athletes?
Yes, for many sports like netball, the Commonwealth Games are considered a major competition. However, with other sports developing their own world championships, some athletes are re-evaluating their targets.