Nation looks to poach Commonwealth Games

Dan Andrews shocked the sporting world on Tuesday when he scrapped plans to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to budget blowouts.

However it didn’t take long for another possible contender to step forward.

Phil Mauger, the mayor of Christchurch, in New Zealand, told Chris Lynch Media that his city should “push in” and host the event.

“You know that I’m a fan of doing it in 2034, but now that Victoria has said enough is enough, let’s see if we can jump in there,” he said.

Vic Govt cancels the 2026 Commonwealth Games

“The New Zealand Olympic Committee are the ones who can push it and do it, and if they think there’s a glimmer of hope that we can, I think we should push in and do as much as we can.”

Mr Mauger was pressed on where he’d drum up the funds to host the mammoth event.

He replied that New Zealand already had a lot of the facilities needed and suggested that rowing and cycling could be held in Cambridge or Invercargill.

“All the stuff’s already built,” he said.

Mr Mauger also pointed to a A$641 million multipurpose stadium, which he expects will be “done by then”.

The Mayor said some events could be shared with Australia, citing the two countries’ dual-host arrangement with the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

However, Mr Mauger’s pie in the sky is likely to remain just that.

On Tuesday, the New Zealand Olympic Committee wasted little time confirming it will not be putting its hand up as a replacement option for the 2026 games.

NZOC chief executive Nicki Nicol, who signalled early interest in hosting the 2034 Commonwealth Games in April, took a swipe at Victoria as she announced it would not contest the 2026 event.

She declared she was “incredibly disappointed” by Victoria’s decision.

“This unexpected announcement is unsettling for New Zealand team athletes who were working towards a Games close to home in just under three years,” she said.

“We are looking to the Commonwealth Games Federation as it begins a process to appoint a new host for 2026.”

The budget blowout of over $4 billion has seemingly spooked any other Australian takers.

“The budget overrun has left us with no choice but to give up our hosting duties for the 2026 Commonwealth Games,” Mr Andrews said during the announcement, lamenting the financial burden that had become insurmountable.

Initially, NSW, South Australia, and Western Australia were seen as potential saviours of the competition, but one by one they declined to take on the responsibility.

NSW Premier Chris Minns firmly stated, “We’re not bidding for the Commonwealth Games, and we’re not going to take them on.

“We have world-class facilities, but we’re facing unprecedented debt in the state. I can’t commit to a massive project that we might not be able to complete.”

Former Australian Olympic Committee boss John Coates advocated for Sydney to host the Games, citing the city’s suitable venues. However, even he could not change the course of events as the other states turned their backs.

South Australia and Tasmania also ruled out any potential bid, while Queensland, which is focused on the upcoming 2032 Brisbane Olympics, declined to spend additional funds on the Commonwealth Games.

In West Australia, Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas urged the WA government to intervene, but WA Premier Roger Cook dismissed the idea, labelling it “ruinously expensive”.

The decision by the states to back away from the Commonwealth Games bid raised concerns about its impact on Australia’s sporting reputation.

Read related topics:Melbourne


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