Malaysia says no to hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games due to cost

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has decided not to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to cost, the government said on Friday (March 22), an event seen by some as outdated. It was a new blow.

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 has been scrambling to find a new host after the State of Victoria withdrew from the project last July due to rising costs.

The federation offered Malaysia and other potential hosts £100 million (US$125 million) in place of Victoria.

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.”

Victoria’s abrupt move and lack of a clear alternative sparked debate over the future of the Olympics, which are held every four years and were last held in Birmingham in 2022.

The CGF suggested that Malaysia was not the only country approached to host the Olympics.

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

Singapore also hosts the annual Formula 1 night race and will host the World Aquatics Championships in 2025.

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