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‘Extensive work’ to find new host for Commonwealth Games


SYDNEY:

Commonwealth Games officials said Wednesday that “extensive work” was underway in four regions to find a new host for the 2026 event after an Australian state’s shock withdrawal in July.

The multi-sport event suffered a major setback when the state of Victoria abruptly pulled out, citing escalating costs.

The event typically attracts more than 4,000 athletes from the 54 nations of the Commonwealth, almost all of them former territories of the British Empire.

The Commonwealth Games Federation briefed members at a meeting in Singapore about efforts across four regions to secure a new host, the organisation said in a statement.

“We have updated our members on the extensive work being done to find a solution for the Games that is in the best interest of athletes and the wider Commonwealth sport movement,” CEO Katie Sadleir said.

“We are acutely aware that timeframes are tight and are committed to providing greater clarity in early 2024,” she said.

Sadleir told a news conference after the meeting the federation has been “working intensely” with Commonwealth Games Australia to keep the games in that country.

“They are very, very keen to keep the games in Australia. And so we’re working to support them with their inquiries,” she said.

The federation was also in touch with “three other regions” to possibly host the games “but they are very much at a preliminary sort of stage,” she said.

The talks included possibly moving the games to 2027, according to Sadleir.

“Our aim is to be in a situation early in the New Year to make a call on where the games might go in 2026 or ’27 or whether or not we might do something a bit different,” she said.

Members also voted during the annual general assembly to include Gabon and Togo in the CGF, bringing the total number of independent member nations and territories in the federation to 74.

The two African countries are both former French colonies and joined the Commonwealth last year.

The Games take place every four years and have only been cancelled during World War II.

Canada’s Alberta province withdrew its support for a possible bid to host the 2030 edition weeks after the Victoria announcement, adding to uncertainty about the event’s future.

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