Malaysia rejects possibility of hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games due to cost

Malaysia announced on March 22 that it has decided not to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to cost, raising new questions about the future of the international multi-sport event.

The decision was made at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim following the withdrawal of the Australian state of Victoria last year.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sport today announced the government’s decision not to accept the offer from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games,” Minister Hannah Yeo said in a statement.

CGF is scrambling to find a new host after the State of Victoria withdrew from the project due to rising costs.

The CGF has offered 100 million pounds ($125 million) to Malaysia and other potential hosts, with just over two years left until the Olympics.

However, the Malaysian government said the proposal was “not expected to cover the entire cost of hosting a major sporting event”, Mr Yeo said.

“The government wants to focus on the development of sports and the welfare of the people,” she added.

A CGF spokesperson said the search for a host for the event continues.

“We are disappointed that Malaysia has decided not to submit a proposal for the 2026 Commonwealth Games and appreciate Malaysia’s efforts to date and contribution to the Commonwealth sporting movement,” the spokesperson said. Stated.

“The confidential process to decide on a host is ongoing with other interested Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs).”

Victoria’s abrupt move and lack of a clear alternative have cast doubt on the future of the Olympics, which are held every four years and were last held in Birmingham in central England in 2022.

The relevance of the tournament, with most of the teams drawn from former British colonies, has come under scrutiny amid persistent questions about Britain’s colonial legacy.

Birmingham was bid to host the event in a relatively short period of time after Durban, South Africa, was forced to withdraw due to a number of issues, including financial issues.

Earlier this month, the CGF praised Malaysia’s “excellent performance” in hosting the 1998 Olympics.

However, the CGF also hinted that Malaysia was not the only country approached to host the Olympics.

Singapore recently said it was “assessing the feasibility” of the CGF proposal.

The wealthy city-state also hosts the annual Formula 1 night race and will host the World Aquatics Championships in 2025.

– “Reckless” –

The prospect of Malaysia hosting the Commonwealth Games has sparked intense debate.

Malaysian Commonwealth Games Association president Mohamad Norza Zakaria said it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that could put Malaysia back on the sporting map.

But questions arose last week after current and former officials expressed reluctance.

Former Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin slammed the idea as “reckless” because there was little time to plan.

He told AFP that any host would need at least four years to upgrade venues, plan sponsorships and develop infrastructure.

“The Commonwealth Games are not an important, high-profile sporting event,” he added.

“As far as multi-sport events go, it doesn’t even come close to the Olympics or even the Asian Games in terms of participation, exposure and revenue,” Kiley said.

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