The end of the Commonwealth Games?
Posted: Wed, 19 Jul 2023 10:15
"I've made a lot of very difficult decisions in this job – this is not one of them," said Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria in Australia, when he announced on Tuesday that the state was no longer willing to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026.
Is this the beginning of the end for the Commonwealth Games?
The projected cost of hosting the event, pitched at A$2.6bn (around £1.3bn), had in fact risen to well over twice that, he said: "Frankly, A$6-7bn for a 12-day sporting event? We are not doing that."
The announcement came as a shock to the event's governing body, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), which blamed Victoria for adding to its initial plans for the games, causing costs to spiral.
But if there are questions for the Victoria state government, there are more fundamental ones now facing the entire Commonwealth Games project. This is the second games in a row to have unexpectedly lost its original host city, and there is no guarantee a replacement will be found for 2026, or beyond.
So is this the end of the Commonwealth Games. We have to admit we have not been big 'fans' of spending up to £1bn a time on these events. In a time of austerity it is hard to justify ahead of housing, and other infrastructure needs. Australian politicians have a habit of speaking bluntly. Perhaps Andrews has articulated what others have felt and been afraid to say?