Australian state pulls out of hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games over cost concerns

Victoria premier Dan Andrews says cost of event could balloon to more than seven billion Australian dollars (€4.2 billion)

Australia’s state of Victoria has pulled out of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to projected cost overruns, placing the future of the quadrennial multi-sport event in doubt.

Victoria premier Dan Andrews said the cost of the Games, which were to have been held in four regional hubs, could blow out to more than seven billion Australian dollars (€4.2 billion) from a budgeted 2.6 billion dollars if they went ahead.

“Frankly A$6-A$7 billion for a 12-day sporting event, we’re not doing that,” Andrews said at a media conference.

“I will not take money out of hospitals and schools to fund an event that is three times the cost as estimated and budgeted for last year.”


Mr Andrews said Victoria had already informed the global Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) but the cost of breaking the 2026 contract had yet to be decided.

The CGF did not provide immediate comment but local body Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) said the pull-out was “beyond disappointing”.

“It’s a comprehensive let-down for the athletes, the excited host communities, First Nations Australians who were at the heart of the Games, and the millions of fans that would have embraced a sixth home Games in Australia,” CGA chief executive Craig Phillips said in a statement.

“The stated costs overrun, in our opinion, are a gross exaggeration.”

The sporting event for mostly former British colonies has struggled to remain relevant, with five of the last six editions held in Australia or Britain.

English city Birmingham stepped in to host the 2022 Games after South Africa were stripped of them in 2017 over a lack of progress in preparations.

Although Australia hosted the games as recently as 2018 at the Gold Coast, Victoria put its hand up for 2026 last year when no other countries showed interest. – Reuters