(CTN News) – In a surprising turn of events, the Australian state of Victoria has canceled its plans to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
The decision comes after the projected cost of the event tripled, leading the state government to deem it financially unviable. The cancellation has cast doubt on the future of the prestigious multi-sport tournament, which takes place every four years.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had struggled to find a host before Victoria volunteered in April 2022. However, Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews, announced that the estimated cost of the event had soared to over A$6 billion, more than double the initial projection of A$2.6 billion.
Commonwealth Games Federation Disappointed by Victoria’s Decision to Withdraw Hosting Bid
The increased expenses were attributed to Victoria’s unique regional delivery model, as well as decisions to include more sports and alter venue plans, contrary to the advice of the CGF.
The cancellation has disappointed the CGF, which expressed its commitment to finding a solution. The governing body stated that it was blindsided by Victoria’s decision, given only eight hours’ notice and without an opportunity for joint discussions to explore alternative options. The CGF had been informed that Victoria considered moving the games to Melbourne but ultimately decided against it.
The withdrawal of Victoria as the host state is seen as a massive humiliation and a blow to its reputation as a global events leader, according to Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto.
However, the chief executive of Commonwealth Games Australia argued that the cited cost blowout was a “gross exaggeration” and expressed intentions to search for another Australian host for the 2026 games. Despite this, all Australian states and New Zealand have ruled out taking on the hosting duties.
The Commonwealth Games have faced challenges in securing viable hosts in recent years. Durban, originally selected to host the 2022 games, had its hosting rights revoked in 2017 due to financial difficulties and missed deadlines.
Birmingham stepped in as the replacement host nine months later. Several bidders withdrew from the process for the 2026 games, citing concerns over costs, leaving Victoria as the final choice in 2022.
As the search for a new host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games begins, the uncertainty surrounding the event raises questions about its continuity. The CGF will need to work diligently to secure a willing and financially capable host to ensure the legacy and tradition of the games continue uninterrupted.