Commonwealth Games chief criticizes Daniel Andrews government after pulling out of Victoria 2026 hosting duties
Commonwealth Games officials insist there remains “strong interest” in future editions, even though the cancellation of Victoria 2026 could sound like the event’s death knell.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) reacted with shock and outrage at the Victorian government’s announcement on Tuesday morning that it would no longer support the 2026 edition, blaming the high costs of the decision.
When asked about the future of the Games, CGA CEO Craig Phillips was optimistic.
“We know there is great interest in the Games and great love for the Games here in Australia,” he said.
“We’ll reconfigure after this and move on, and see if we can still be the host nation for 2026.”
Daniel Andrews’ government took a beating from the head of the Commonwealth Games
Craig Phillips insists there is a future for the Games despite Victoria’s withdrawal
Phillips and CGF did not mince words, with the CGA chief calling Victoria’s cancellation “beyond disappointing… a complete disappointment.”
“Australia, up until now, has had a great reputation for hosting great Games,” Phillips said.
“However, the Victorian government has jeopardized the position of Melbourne and Victoria as the world capital of sport.”
The CGF claimed that the potential spending, up to $7bn according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at a press conference on Tuesday, was different from that presented last month by the local organizing committee.
The sports body blamed the rising costs on the state government’s idea of holding a regional Games.
‘The reasons given are financial. The figures quoted to us today of $6 billion are 50 per cent more than those reported to the Organizing Committee board at their June meeting,” the CGF said in a statement from its London headquarters.
“These figures are attributed to price escalation primarily due to the unique regional delivery model Victoria chose for these Games and in particular relate to village and venue construction and transport infrastructure.”
The statement added that Victoria had included additional sports and an additional regional centre, and changed plans for venues that added expense and “often went against the advice of the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Australian Commonwealth Games.” “.
The CGF said the state government only gave eight hours’ notice before making the public announcement and did not consider working together to find a solution.
The Federation said it remained committed to hosting an event in 2026 and the future of the Games.
“We are taking advice on the options available to us and remain committed to finding a solution for the Games in 2026 that is in the best interest of our athletes and the Commonwealth Sports Movement as a whole,” the CGF said in its statement.
Victoria will no longer host the 2026 Games due to funding problems
Phillips said the budget implications announced Tuesday were not discussed with CGA or CGF prior to the cancellation.
“The stated cost overruns, in our opinion, are a gross exaggeration and do not reflect the operating costs presented to the Victoria 2026 Organizing Committee meeting in June,” Phillips said.
“Beyond this, the Victorian Government deliberately ignored recommendations to move events to purpose-built stadiums in Melbourne, and indeed remained committed to proceeding with costly temporary venues in the Victorian region.
‘CGA would welcome the opportunity to review the financial analysis prepared independently by those who have been involved in the planning and delivery of the coal.’