‘Orphan’ 2026 Commonwealth Games needs more time to get a ‘home’

‘Orphan’ 2026 Commonwealth Games needs more time to get a ‘home’

 The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) needs more time before it can provide any update regarding the next host of the quadrennial multisport event that is due to be staged in 2026.

According to a statement made by the CGF in April, officials said they aimed to announce the host in May.

With that window now passed, a CGF spokesperson told GamesBids.com Monday that “further time” is required due to the nature of the “complex process.” No other information was offered.

The continued delays in a bid process that had been scheduled to close over four years ago have raised significant doubts that the event involving over 6000 athletes from more than 70 nations can be organized in time without delaying the event or modifying the program.

In April 2014 host Glasgow came forward with possible plans to organize a downscaled event that would feature only 10 to 13 sports, down from 20 staged in Birmingham in 2022. Anchor events such as athletics and swimming would be included, but all other competitions would depend upon available venues due to the tight timelines that rule out any significant construction. The lack of an Athletes’ Village could limit the number of competitors.

On May 2 Scottish Health Secretary Neil Gray said “The Federation said they intend to announce a decision in May 2024.”

“If at that stage, Scotland is deemed to be the only viable option, then steps will be taken to gather additional information and assurances to enable the Scottish Government to confirm or otherwise its support to proceed.”

No other alternatives have since emerged but the CGF negotiates with potential hosts behind closed doors.

Having difficulties attracting hosts, the CGF offered a £100 million (USD 128 million) investment to any region willing to stage the Games. Malaysia and Singapore had considered bidding, but both eventually ruled it out due to costs and risks. Ghana’s Sports Minister in April said his nation was involved in talks to host the first Games in Africa.

Several stumbles have left the CGF in this predicament, and the Games at risk.

Struggles began when the CGF stripped Durban, South Africa of the 2022 Games for missing financial milestones. Birmingham, England had been planning a bid for the 2026 edition but stepped in to fill the 2022 gap instead.

No other cities emerged for 2026 so the CGF gave Hamilton in Canada, already targeting to host the centennial Games in 2030, an exclusive opportunity to pivot to 2026. The Ontario city failed to get provincial funding for the project and rejected the deal, leaving the CGF scrambling to find a host.

The CGF later signed a host contract with Australia’s Victoria, but that soon unraveled when the state premier claimed costs were skyrocketing and he was willing to pay a financial penalty to back out of the Games. No other Australian regions were willing to step in.

The funds from that penalty payment are being used as the financial incentive being offered today.