Commonwealth Games: Gold Coast rules out hosting 2026 event

Tom Tate speaking at a lectern
Image caption,Mayor Tom Tate struggled to find support for his idea

By Tiffanie Turnbull

BBC News, Sydney

The Gold Coast has ruled itself out of hosting the next Commonwealth Games, ending any hope the event could still be held in Australia.

The coastal city hosted the 2018 Games, and mayor Tom Tate had – unilaterally – insisted it could do it again.

But the federal and state governments have repeatedly ruled out supporting the event, as had his own deputy mayor.

Organisers have said they may have to postpone or cancel the next instalment of the Games.

The Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport event that takes place every four years. It has only ever been cancelled during World War Two. To be eligible to participate, competitors must be from one of the Commonwealth’s more than 70 nations or territories – many of which were once part of the British Empire.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had struggled to find a host for the 2026 Games before Victoria volunteered, and a month after the state’s withdrawal, the only contender for the 2030 Games – the Canadian province of Alberta – also dropped its hosting plans.

There are no other firm bids to host either the 2026 or 2030 Games. Governments say the cost of the event is skyrocketing, while experts argue its global image and perceived relevance is waning.

But the CGF said it was working on finding a new host.

“Since the sudden withdrawal of Victoria in July 2023 as host of the 2026 Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation has been working tirelessly with Commonwealth Games Associations to find a new host who would be able to step in at such short notice,” a spokesperson said.

“We are in active conversations with a number of potential hosts across the Commonwealth and hope to provide an update on those discussions in early 2024.”

Organisers had originally estimated the Victorian Games – hosted across cities including Geelong, Bendigo, and Ballarat – would cost A$2.6bn (£1.4bn; $, but the government said it had ballooned to more than A$6 bn.

Mr Tate had said the Gold Coast, in the state of Queensland, could host a “streamlined” version of the event for A$700m and had floated the idea of sharing it with the city of Perth – a six-hour flight away in Western Australia.

He says his plan had attracted support from Australian billionaires like Gina Rinehart and Gerry Harvey and athletes who are desperate for the event to proceed, but that it could not win over the Queensland or federal governments.

“We did our best and that’s all people can expect,” Mr Tate said in a statement on Sunday.

Australia will now be known as “a place that reneges on a global sports contract”, leaving its reputation “in tatters” he added.

Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) wanted to keep the Games in Australia, but chief executive Craig Phillips said he understood Mr Tate’s decision.

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