Australia could co-host next Commonwealth Games

Steve Larkin |

Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips says co-hosting the event is being considered.
Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips says co-hosting the event is being considered.

Australia could co-host the next Commonwealth Games with other countries as the scramble continues to save the multi-sports event.

Australia remain steadfast in wanting to keep the next edition, slated for 2026, despite the Victorian government pulling out as host.

Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive Craig Phillips says co-hosting with other nations is being considered.

“It’s certainly a possibility,” Phillips told AAP on Thursday.

“And certainly it’s an option the CGF (Commonwealth Games Federation) would consider.

“Whether it’s two locations or more than that, we know that the CGF will consider that.

“And in some ways it’s not dissimilar to what is happening with other major events now around the world, where you’re seeing multiple locations sharing the hosting.

“We have had the FIFA Women’s World Cup last year across Australia and New Zealand, you have got the men’s World Cup in 2026 across three countries.

“The Paris Olympics are far-flung – you have everything from Tahiti to mainland France.

“So it’s probably the way of the future of looking at greater flexibility of having multiple locations hosting a Games.”

Three other as-yet unnamed Commonwealth nations have emerged as potential host candidates.

Australia and the CGF had hoped to finalise the next Games, which could be postponed until 2027, early this year, but that timeline is being pushed back. 

“If it’s essentially a turnkey solution, which is probably the most likely – a place or places that have the venues ready to go, have the accommodation solution for the athletes – obviously you don’t need the same amount of runway than if you had to build things,” Phillips said.

“That’s probably where it’s going.

“But it’s a bit of a catch 22. It depends on what the proposal is in terms of where the Games will be held to then drive when you have to make your final decision.

“We can’t really wait until the back end of the year, that is certainly too late.”

In July last year, Victoria pulled out as host of the 2026 Games.

The Victorian government cited forecast costs rising from between $2 billion and $3 billion to between $6 billion and $7 billion – figures contested by Games hierarchy.

Victoria was the second successive Commonwealth Games host to renege on its commitment.

In 2015, Durban was named as 2022 host, but 17 months later the South African city was stripped of the Games amid financial problems and missed deadlines.

The English city of Birmingham stepped in as host of the 2022 Games.

Birmingham Commonwealth Games
The English city of Birmingham stepped in as host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate offered to host the 2026 Games, but scrapped the attempt because of a lack of Queensland government support.

Other Australian state and territory governments have ruled out hosting, though Phillips said he was still in talks with politicians.

“We are certainly having some conversations around the place at the moment, but nothing terribly formal,” he said.

The ultimate decision on the next host rests with the CGF.

“While we feel an obligation, and I think there’s some (in the CGF) that would prefer to stay here in Australia, the CGF has to come up with a solution that keeps the Games somewhere,” Phillips said.

“If ultimately they have to move it away from Australia, they will do that.

“And they have our support on that too, if we can’t offer a solution to them.”