The “2026 Commonwealth Games” face uncertainty as the Australian state of Victoria has withdrawn its plans to host the event due to budgetary concerns. The “Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)” had struggled to find a host before Victoria stepped forward in April 2022. However, the state premier stated that the projected cost had tripled and had become unaffordable for Victoria.
The CGF expressed deep disappointment over the decision and emphasised its commitment to finding a solution. The Commonwealth Games, held every four years, were only cancelled during World War II. Participation in the games is limited to athletes from the 56 member countries of the Commonwealth, most of which were formerly part of the British Empire.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews explained that while the state had been willing to help by hosting, there were limits to what they could bear financially. The initial estimate for the event, to be hosted across cities including Geelong, Bendigo, and Ballarat, was A$2.6 billion. The state government had positioned the games as a boost for the regions.
The CGF stated that the new estimate of A$6 billion, double the figure they had been advised of in a recent board meeting, was due to Victoria’s chosen regional delivery model for the games. The government’s decisions to include more sports and alter venue plans, often against the advice of the CGF and its Australian arm, contributed significantly to the increased costs.
The decision not to host the games is seen as a massive humiliation for Victoria and damaging to its reputation as a global event leader, according to Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto. “Commonwealth Games” Australia’s CEO also disagreed with the cited cost blowout, considering it a gross exaggeration. Efforts will now be made to find another Australian host for the 2026 games, but all of the country’s states have ruled out stepping in.
In recent years, the “Commonwealth Games” have faced challenges in securing viable hosts. Durban, originally selected to host the 2022 games, had its hosting rights revoked in 2017 due to financial issues and missed deadlines. Birmingham ultimately agreed to host nine months later. The CGF had aimed to announce the host for the 2026 games in 2019, but the withdrawal of several bidders due to cost concerns led to Victoria being confirmed as the host in 2022.