Australia is looking forward to ComGames as Malaysia won’t host the event

Australia remains hopeful the Commonwealth Games will survive despite Malaysia’s rejection of an offer to host the 2026 Games.

The Malasian government says the $194 million offered by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to host the event will not cover the costs.

CGF made this offer after Victoria abruptly resigned from her role as host in July last year.

Malaysia’s Sports and Youth Ministry said on Friday that the CGF’s proposal “cannot cover the entire cost of hosting a major sporting event.”

“Furthermore, the economic impact could not be determined in this short period of time,” the ministry said in a statement.

Malaysia’s refusal was the latest setback for Commonwealth Games executives, who have been exploring options to salvage multiple sporting events since Victoria’s withdrawal.

The Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) has raised the prospect of Australia co-hosting the next event, scheduled for 2026, but it is likely to be postponed until 2027.

A CGA spokesperson told AAP on Friday night: “We remain hopeful that a solution will be found by 2026.”

“Despite Malaysia’s decision today, the CGF remains in active negotiations in secret with a number of potential host countries.”

The next Games may be scaled back, with CGA Secretary Craig Phillips recently saying a turnkey solution is likely, using existing venues and accommodation to host the Games.

Apart from Australia, three other as-yet-unnamed countries have been floated as potential hosts, according to the CGF.

In July last year, Victoria withdrew from hosting the 2026 Games, citing expected costs to rise from $2 billion to $3 billion to $6 billion to $7 billion.

But an audit released last week found Victoria’s decision was based on improper accounting and could cost taxpayers around $600 million.

Auditor-General Andrew Greaves said agencies were not working together to provide the government with “candid, complete and timely advice”.

The Victorian government agreed to pay $380 million in compensation to CGF, and CGF offered Malaysia a share of the funding as host country.

Victoria became the second tournament host state to break that promise for the second year in a row.

In 2015, Durban was nominated to host the Games in 2022, but 17 months later the South African city was disqualified from hosting the Olympics due to financial problems and missed deadlines.

The British city of Birmingham has come forward to host these tournaments.

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