Malaysia offered $130 million investment to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games; others considering same deal according to CGF

Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur last hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1998

Commonwealth Games Malaysia

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has confirmed that Malaysia is now in the running to host the rapidly approaching 2026 edition of the Commonwealth Games, and other potential hosts are also reportedly involved in discussions.

The CGF has been desperately seeking its next Games host after the edition was left vacant when Victoria in Australia broke its contract and backed out of its obligations to stage in 2026. Citing skyrocketing costs, government officials claimed it would be reckless to move forward, and were instead willing to pay a multi-million dollar settlement to the CGF for breach of contract.

Its from this financial settlement that the CGF is able to support the next host, with a spokesperson explaining that a USD $130 million investment would be available to any interested bidder, according to AFP.

A statement by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Monday said the offer was extended by the CGF last month and that it was currently being considered.

“OCM started discussions with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia on the possibility of staging the 2026 Commonwealth Games following the withdrawal of winning bidder Victoria, Australia last year,” the statement read.

“The [CGF] offer includes significant financial investment of £100 million (USD $130 million) to support the local delivery and legacy planning of the 2026 edition.”

Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur last hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1998.

“Malaysia has a fantastic track record of delivering sporting events, and the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur were hugely successful,” a CGF spokesperson told AFP.

“We are encouraged by their early concepts of building on this legacy through use of many of the same world-class facilities. We welcome innovative proposals and are in positive discussions with (other) potential hosts.

“We are committed to providing an update on the expedited process, and giving greater clarity to our stakeholders and athletes, as soon as possible.”

Officials in Christchurch, New Zealand recently expressed some interest in hosting a modified Pan Am Games event.

Commonwealth Games Association of Malaysia president Mohamad Norza Zakaria described the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which will build on the success of Kuala Lumpur 1998 and put Malaysia back onto the world sporting map”.

Others are not so confident including former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin who said the idea was reckless with so much to do and only two years to do four years’ work.

Sports Commissioner Suhardi Alias also balked at plans explaining that the project will be too expensive.

“Why do we want to be the savior for the Games when Victoria dumped it, and nobody else wants it?” he reportedly said, pointing out that Victoria preferred to pay a huge sum of money than to host the event.

Now its up to the cabinet to decide whether to move forward. The sports ministry will file a report with the cabinet this week before a decision is made.

Struggling to find a host, the CGF has floated the possibility of staging the 2026 event in 2027, or even holding a series of events over multiple Commonwealth territories as a stop-gap – then hope for better luck in 2030. Victoria surrendered the Games last July.

Meanwhile on Tuesday the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) elected Lima in Peru as a replacement host for the 2027 Pan Am Games after Barranquilla, Colombia was stripped of the Games in January for missed financial milestones. The entire campaign involving rival Asuncion, Paraguay lasted six weeks.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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