Uncertainties are looming over the 2026 Commonwealth Games as the Australian state of Victoria has pulled out from hosting the upcoming competition.
State Premier Daniel Andrews has stated budgetary constraints as the reason for the decision, terming the threefold increase of the estimated cost “well and truly too much”.
Owing to World War 2, the 1942 and 1946 editions were cancelled, the only two instances when this happened in its illustrated past.
The Commonwealth Games is a quadrennial sporting tournament contested among 56 partners of the Commonwealth. The British Empire once colonized almost all the members of the competition.
Earlier, in 2022, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) found it difficult to get a host when Victoria stepped in.
The organisers thought the event would boost the local economy of Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat, where it was scheduled to be played. An amount of Rs 14,538 crore was the estimated cost of the event.
However, the projected cost skyrocketed to Rs 33,546 crore, which is "more than twice the estimated economic benefit" anticipated by Victoria.
"I've made a lot of difficult calls, a lot of very difficult decisions in this job. This is not one of them. That is all cost and no benefit," the Premier said in a press conference.
The CGF is highly dissatisfied with the decision and has vowed to find an alternative for the same.
"We are disappointed that we were only given eight hours' notice and that no consideration was given to discussing the situation to jointly find solutions," the governing body said in a statement.
The apex body blamed the increased hosting cost on Victoria’s "unique regional delivery model". The authorities often included more games and changed venues against the CWF’s recommendations, all of which compounded the increased expense.
Craig Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Games Australia, vented his frustration on behalf of all the stakeholders concerned with the event.
“It’s a comprehensive let down for the athletes, the excited host communities, First Nations Australians who were at the heart of the Games, and the millions of fans that would have embraced a sixth home Games in Australia,” Phillips said.
In the past, Australia hosted the multi-nation tournament five times- 1938, 1962, 1982, 2006 and 2018.
In recent times, the CWF has had a hard time finding a host for the tournament. Durban , the original host for the 2022 games, failed to organise the event as they faced financial troubles and skipped deadlines.
Later, Birmingham came to the rescue as it hosted the event after nine months.