In a significant development, the Gold Coast has officially withdrawn its bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, putting an end to any possibility of the event remaining in Australia. Despite Mayor Tom Tate’s unilateral insistence that the coastal city could host the Games again, both federal and state governments, along with his deputy mayor, repeatedly rejected support for the bid.
Organisers Contemplate Postponement or Cancellation
With the withdrawal of the Gold Coast bid, organisers now face the challenge of potentially postponing or canceling the next installment of the Commonwealth Games. The multi-sport event, held every four years, has only been canceled once during World War Two. Participants must be from one of over 70 nations or territories, many of which were once part of the British Empire.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had encountered difficulties finding a host for the 2026 Games before Victoria volunteered. However, a month after Victoria’s withdrawal, the only contender for the 2030 Games, the Canadian province of Alberta, also abandoned its hosting plans. With no firm bids for the 2026 or 2030 Games, concerns about the rising costs and perceived waning global relevance of the event come to the forefront.
Escalating Costs and Waning Relevance
Originally estimated at A$2.6 billion, the Victorian Games’ cost had reportedly ballooned to over A$6 billion. Mayor Tom Tate proposed a “streamlined” version for A$700 million, suggesting a collaboration with the city of Perth, six hours away by flight. Despite support from Australian billionaires and athletes eager for the event, Tate’s plan failed to win over the Queensland or federal governments.
Mayor Tate expressed disappointment, stating that Australia would now be seen as a country reneging on a global sports contract, leaving its reputation “in tatters.” Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) aimed to keep the Games in the country, acknowledging the challenges and exploring alternative solutions for athletes in Australia and the Pacific. Conversations are ongoing on four continents as efforts continue to salvage the future of the Commonwealth Games.