Australia racing against time to secure 2026 Commonwealth Games host as new candidates emerge
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) faces a tight three-month window to identify a host city for the 2026 Commonwealth Games as three additional contenders express interest in hosting the prestigious event.
CGF officials expressed on Wednesday that securing an Australian host remains the top priority, urging government support in this crucial endeavour.
Chris Jenkins, elected president during the CGF’s general assembly in Singapore, assumes leadership with a commitment to “remodelling” the Games.
This urgency stems from the absence of a host for the 2026 Games after the Victorian government withdrew in July, citing cost overruns. Despite Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate’s willingness to step in with an estimated A$700 million offer, the Queensland Government has declined to provide support.
CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir revealed that three unnamed regions have emerged as potential hosts for the 2026 Games, which may have to be pushed back a year due to the lack of support and organisation from a host city. While Commonwealth Games Australia expresses a keen interest in retaining the Games in the country, the CGF is actively engaging in preliminary discussions with these potential host regions.
“Our aim is to be in a situation early in the new year to make a call on where a Games might go in 2026, 2027 or whether or not we might do something a bit different,” Sadleir said.
“We have started looking at alternative models and we’ll be continuing on with that work as well as we seek a host for ‘26.
“… Nothing is sure. It’s a very short period of time for which to find a host.”
A decision is anticipated in February and the possibility of postponing the Games until 2027 is being considered. Craig Phillips, chief executive of Commonwealth Games Australia, briefed nations at the Singapore assembly and awaits a formal proposal from the Gold Coast, the host of the 2018 Games.
While support for hosting the Games in Australia is evident among Commonwealth nations, Phillips acknowledged the need for substantial state government backing for a successful Games. CGA continues discussions with other Australian states, even though no formal expressions of interest have been received.
“Being here and meeting with the CGF has given us an opportunity to progress things, but we’re still in that situation of getting ourselves ready for those conversations,” Phillips added.
Australia has three months to find a 2026 Commonwealth Games host and ensure the continuity of the Commonwealth Games legacy in Australia.