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Tuesday 18 July 2023

Has the Commonwealth Games simply become too expensive?

First Durban in South Africa, now the Australian state of Victoria.

Both put their hands up to host the Commonwealth Games - and both found the costs too much to bear.

Durban, you may recall, was to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games but was stripped of hosting rights in 2017 after running into financial difficulties.

Then, today, the Victorian state government rescinded its offer to host the multi-sports event in 2026, saying the event was now too expensive.

The Commonwealth Games Federation said it received only eight hours’ notice of Victoria's withdrawal, which came fewer than 1000 days before the scheduled opening of the event, to be staged in several regional centres.

The London-based organisation said the Victorian government had made decisions “which have added considerable expense” - including introducing more sports, an additional regional hub, and changed venue plans.

These were “often against the advice” of the the Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games Australia, the CGF said in a statement.

The CGF called the decision "hugely disappointing" and said it is "committed to finding a solution". But finding a new host at such short notice will be difficult.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the new cost figure was "more than twice the estimated economic benefit" the event would bring to Victoria.

"I've made a lot of difficult calls, 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."

Andrew said the government had considered "all options" including moving the games to Melbourne, before informing CGF of their decision.

Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games five times with smaller and poorer nations unable to fund the costs of hosting the event.

Canada has hosted four Commonwealth Games and nine nations have hosted in all since 1930.

Two cities have hosted Commonwealth Games more than once: Auckland (1950, 1990) and Edinburgh (1970, 1986).

Now it is the event that no one wants to host. The Commonwealth Games, formerly the Empire Games are an anachronism. Loved by the competors but well past their use by date. 

1 comment:

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