2026 Commonwealth Games: Malaysia’s refusal casts a cloud over the future of the Games

The 2026 Commonwealth Games were isolated. Also. This time, it was Malaysia that rejected the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) proposal to host the Games. This leaves the Olympics without an organizer two years after their scheduled opening.

Malaysia said in an official statement that the decision was taken due to insufficient time constraints, cost and funding.

CGF had asked Malaysia to intervene after the Australian state of Victoria withdrew from the project due to rising costs. The governing body even threw in a sweetener. Support funding is 100 million pounds ($126 million).

Still, Malaysia said no.

But before saying no, Malaysia considered all avenues to make this happen. They also considered scaling back the game.

“We feel this could be a scaled-down Games,” Malaysian Olympic Council Secretary-General Mohd Najib said.

“For example, it doesn’t have to be 15 sports, it could be 10 sports. And we’ll have a smaller opening and a smaller closing (ceremony).”

In the end, it was decided that the price was too high, even for a significantly reduced size game.

But why has the Commonwealth Games become something of a poisoned chalice?

victorian mistake

July 18: The Australian state of Victoria has just pulled out of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games, citing rising costs.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has said the cost of hosting the Olympics could far exceed the original estimate of $4.8 billion.

“Frankly, a 12-day sporting event costs A$6 billion to A$7 billion and we’re not doing that,” Mr Andrews said.

By her own admission, Victoria made the decision even before calculating the cost of breaking her contract with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

After all, Dan Andrews later admitted that the state of Victoria had agreed to pay the Commonwealth Games organizers $243 million.

Victoria’s decision may have something to do with Birmingham’s decision.

birmingham failure

On September 5, 2023, Birmingham City Council effectively declared bankruptcy in order to meet equal pay demands.

The works council of Europe’s largest municipality said in a statement that the notification was a “necessary step to return the city to sound financial footing”.

Officials then said they would only spend on essentials for now.

Naturally, the UK conducted a post-mortem to understand why the board failed.

There were some questionable expenditures, one of which I couldn’t pass up. 2022 Commonwealth Games.

It stuck out like a sore thumb.

Max Kohler, a former Birmingham City Council adviser, said the decision to hold the Commonwealth Games was a mistake given the “legacy of financial problems”.

The former chief executive of the London boroughs of Hackney and Barnet said the competition was an “overreaching challenge” for the cash-strapped councils.

So how much did it cost to host the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham?

In 2019, the CGF revealed that the 2022 Birmingham Games would cost an estimated £778m. The British government had agreed with Birmingham City Council by a vote of 75-25.

Central Government contributed £594m, with councils and their partners chipping in the remaining £184m.

Birmingham reportedly coughed up £25 million, but the council was paralyzed by the Olympics.

Expired value?

Due to the astronomical costs of hosting tournaments, the value of hosting tournaments is rapidly declining.
But that doesn’t mean the game has lost its appeal. Far from it.

Dr Matthew Lyons, a regional economist at the University of Birmingham, knows where the real value of the Olympics lies. ”

These events only really deliver value for money if they are used as a catalyst to deliver others and, to Birmingham’s credit, increase tourism and business investment in the long term. We have made a conscious effort to attract them. ”

“Concerns about the cost of large-scale events are becoming increasingly common. I agree with the assessment that Victoria’s costs are not value for money, as they appear to be astronomical.” says Dr. Matthew Lyons.

The pull remains strong for developing countries, which need the Games as an excuse to invest in relevant infrastructure and intellectual capacity.

The argument is therefore that such new-found infrastructure and intellectual capacity will be the catalyst for sports development in such countries.

But is that always the case?

Many countries are faced with the reality that their views are often deceptive for one reason. Maintenance and the white elephant phenomenon.

These are newly constructed facilities, but due to their size and specialized nature, they will be of little use after the Games.

For those that are still useful, the cost to maintain may prove too high.

The same goes for the Olympics and the countries that host them.

Australia’s Sydney Olympic Stadium costs the city up to $30 million a year in maintenance alone.

In China, the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing cost $460 million to build and requires $10 million a year to maintain. Like many similar facilities, this one has not served any significant purpose since his 2008 Olympics.

So it’s understandable why countries don’t line up in hundreds to host the Commonwealth Games.

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