20 July 2023

Gold Coast mayor says city ready to step in as 2026 Commonwealth Games hosts

20 July 2023

Gold Coast is ready to step in and host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, the Australian city’s mayor has said.

Gold Coast staged the Games in 2018 and its mayor Tom Tate said it is “Games ready” after the state of Victoria withdrew as 2026 hosts earlier this week.

Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews cited a rise in estimated costs to at least six billion Australian dollars (just under £3.2bn) as he announced the withdrawal on Tuesday.

We can highlight once more that the Gold Coast is going ahead in leaps and bounds.

“The premier of Victoria’s lemon, the Gold Coast can turn that into lemonade because that’s how we roll,” Tate said in quotes reported by ABC in Australia.

“We can highlight once more that the Gold Coast is going ahead in leaps and bounds.”

Tate said hosting 2026 would give the state of Queensland “momentum” in its journey towards state capital Brisbane hosting the 2032 Olympic Games, but warned federal government funding initially earmarked for Victoria would need to be redirected to his city to make it happen.

Athletics Australia welcomed Tate’s comments, but Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all efforts must remain focused on the 2032 Olympics.

“Even though the Gold Coast is a wonderful venue, it does have the venues and the infrastructure, it does have the transport, but we cannot afford to spend more money on another games,” she said.

ABC reported Tate had already made contact with officials at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), although the PA news agency understands there have been no direct formal offers made to the CGF to step in.

A CGF spokesperson said on Thursday: “We are currently focused on our legal options and a responsible settlement to the contract (with Victoria), given the significant impact of the Government’s actions on the Australian and wider Commonwealth sporting landscape.

“We have been inspired by the huge support from around the world and it is great to see the enthusiasm that is being expressed for the Games. However, we have not even begun to explore alternative options for hosting in 2026.”

CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir told the PA news agency earlier this week her organisation was “open” to offers from any countries interested in hosting, including those within the UK.

A spokesman for London mayor Sadiq Khan said he “stood ready” to support a submission for 2026 but that any decision would need to be taken by the British Government.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf said his country would explore the possibility of stepping in, possibly as part of a multi-country bid.

Commonwealth Games Scotland chair Ian Reid has a strong track record in Games delivery, having served as chief financial officer for the Glasgow 2014 organising committee and as chief executive of the Birmingham 2022 Games.

The Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago, which start on August 4, will provide an early opportunity for members of the CGF leadership to hold discussions with national Commonwealth Games associations regarding 2026.

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