You thought it was over? Still a chance for 2026 Commonwealth Games to stay in Australia as potential hosts enter talks
Australia has three months to find a 2026 Commonwealth Games host as three other candidates emerge for the multi-sport event.
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) hierarchy say finding an Australian host for the 2026 edition remains the priority while appealing for government support.
Welshman Chris Jenkins was voted president at the CGF’s general assembly in Singapore on Wednesday on a platform of “remodelling” the Games.
Jenkins takes the top seat amid the crisis of the host-less 2026 Games after the Victorian government, citing cost blowouts, pulled out in July.
Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate has offered to step in for an estimated $700 million cost but Queensland’s government has ruled out support.
CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir says three other unnamed regions have emerged as potential candidates to host a Games in 2026 or 2027.
“We have been working intensely with Commonwealth Games Australia,” Sadleir told reporters on Wednesday night.
“They are very, very keen to keep the Games in Australia and so we’re working to support them with their inquiries.
“And then there are three other regions that we are having conversations with but they are very much of a preliminary sort of stage.
“But our aim is to be in a situation early in the New Year to make a call on where a Games might go in 2026, 2027 or whether or not we might do something a bit different.
“We have started looking at alternative models and we’ll be continuing on with that work as well as we seek a host for ’26.
“… Nothing is sure. It’s a very short period of time for which to find a host.”
Sadleir said a decision was likely in February and postponing the Games until 2027 was on the table.
Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive Craig Phillips briefed nations at the Singapore general assembly as he awaits a formal proposal from the Gold Coast, the host of the 2018 Games.
“They have still got to work through internally what that could look like and also any ongoing conversations with the Queensland government in terms of their support,” Phillips told AAP.
“Clearly a Games anywhere in Australia needs a lot of state government support.”
Phillips said other Commonwealth nations wanted Australia to host the next Games.
“There is a lot of support from our colleagues for the Games to still happen in Australia somewhere, which has been encouraging,” he said.
“They have thrown their support behind us doing that.”
Phillips said CGA would also continue canvassing other Australian states, though none have yet expressed interest.
“Obviously we’re preparing for conversations with different states, the work continues between us and the CGF in terms of framing what that could look like,” he said.
“Being here and meeting with the CGF has given us an opportunity to progress things, but we’re still in that situation of getting ourselves ready for those conversations.”
And Sadleir vowed the Games would go on in some shape or form.
“We will be doing something in ’26, ’27,” she said.
“And that is part of that alternative look … we are spending some time looking at what Plan B may be.
“But at the same time, definitely focussed on having serious conversations with potential hosts to talk about how we might be making this possible.”
Victoria’s government withdrew as host citing a forecast rise in costs from between $2 billion and $3b to between $6b and $7b, figures contested by Games hierarchy.
“I am not going to talk about the cost specifically Victoria got to about the Games,” Sadleir said.
“But what I can say is that the Games in Birmingham (2022) and the Gold Coast (2018) were signifcantly less than the costs in Victoria.
“Where we are looking right now in terms of potential hosts, we are certainly looking at reducing costs.”