Since their conception, the Commonwealth Games have only been cancelled once, during the World War II. But last week the Games were threatened again, thanks to the Australian state of Victoria suddenly withdrawing from hosting the 2026 edition. Victoria pulled out of the Games due to ballooning costs, which apparently were projected to increase to $4 billion.
Fortunately, however, the 2026 Commonwealth Games may well still go ahead – and they might take place in London. That’s right, just two years after Birmingham hosted the Games, they might be on their way back to the UK.
And that might not be such a bad idea. Thanks to the 2012 Olympics, London has plenty of existing sports infrastructure, plus other parts of the UK are apparently up for hosting certain events. A spokesperson for the Mayor of London told the BBC that the city ‘stands ready to support if required’.
The estimated cost of the 12-day games is unclear, with projections from various sources ranging from £500 million to £3.5 billion. It’s worth noting, however, that West Midlands mayor Andy Street said that the Birmingham Games brought in much more money than was spent on them.
The final say in the matter would ultimately be down to the government. Unlike most other international sporting events, the Commonwealth Games rely heavily on government funding as opposed to sponsorship. PM Rishi Sunak seems sceptical about the prospect of London hosting, but as the ‘sporting capital of the world’ (in the Mayor of London’s spokesperson’s words) it could well be a possibility.
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