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Australia’s Victoria withdraws as host of 2026 Commonwealth Games due to escalating costs

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The 2026 Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be held in Australia’s Victoria, have been cancelled due to a significant surge in the anticipated expenses for organizing the multi-sports event.

According to Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews, while his government had initially agreed to host the quadrennial event, they were not willing to proceed “at any cost.” The initial budget of 2.6 billion Australian dollars ($1.8 billion) to hold the Games in five regional cities had now escalated to estimations as high as 7 billion Australian dollars ($4.8 billion).

During a press conference, Andrews stated that it had become evident that the projected cost of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games was far greater than the initial budget of $2.6 billion. Andrews emphasized that he would not divert funds from essential services like hospitals and schools to finance an event that exceeded the anticipated budget by threefold. Consequently, he declared that the Games would not proceed in Victoria in 2026. The originally planned dates for the event were March 17-29, with the regional centres of Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland, and Shepparton set as host locations.

The Commonwealth Games Federation expressed deep disappointment in response to the decision by the Victoria government to withdraw as the host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games. The organization acknowledged the impact of this decision on the athletes and stated that it was seeking advice to explore alternative solutions for the event in 2026.

The estimated increase in costs was attributed primarily to the regional, multi-city host model and the government’s decision to modify venue plans and include additional sports. The CGF emphasized the advanced stage of planning and preparation by the Organising Committee and conveyed its disappointment on behalf of the Commonwealth Sports Movement and athletes across the Commonwealth.

The quoted figure of $6 billion represents a 50% increase compared to the numbers presented to the Organising Committee board in June. These cost escalations are primarily attributed to the unique regional delivery model chosen by Victoria, particularly concerning the construction of the village, venues, and transport infrastructure.

The government had previously assured that there were adequate funds to successfully organize the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games. In light of the recent developments, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is now seeking guidance on the available options and is committed to finding a suitable solution for the Games in 2026, prioritizing the interests of the athletes and the broader Commonwealth Sports Movement.

Victoria state previously served as the host for the 2006 Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne. The most recent edition of the Games in Australia took place in the Gold Coast, Queensland state, in 2018. It is worth noting that the Gold Coast is situated within the southeast Queensland region, which has been designated as the host for various events during the upcoming 2032 Olympics to be held in Brisbane.



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