New blow for Commonwealth Games as Malaysia rejects offer to host 2026 edition
New blow for Commonwealth Games as Malaysia rejects offer to host 2026 edition
New blow for Commonwealth Games as Malaysia rejects offer to host 2026 edition
by DZRH News22 March 2024
FILE PHOTO: A general view of city skyline including Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain/ FILE PHOTO

By Danial Azhar

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -Malaysia has rejected an offer to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to uncertainty over costs and insufficient funding offered, its government said on Friday, in a major setback for the quadrennial multi-sport event.

Malaysia was asked to step in after the Australian state of Victoria withdrew as host, citing ballooning costs, with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) offering 100 million pounds ($126 million) in supporting funds.

Malaysia ruling itself out raises the possibility that the Games may not take place for the first time since being cancelled due to the Second World War.


The funding offered was not enough, officials said, and Malaysia could not commit to hosting the event at such short notice and with little time to assess the potential economic impact.

"If we had a longer time, we would definitely do it, but because there's such a short time, we definitely can't do it," government spokesperson and Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil told a regular briefing.

"When we assessed the viability of hosting the Games, the length of time needed and the cost was seen to be particularly prohibitive."

The London-based CGF did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on Malaysia declining its offer.


The youth and sports ministry said the 100 million pounds funding it had offered would not be enough to cover the costs of hosting a large-scale sports event.

"Additionally, the economic impact could not be identified in this short timeframe," it said in a statement.


The Games are typically contested by about 70 countries and territories of the former British empire and medals tables have in recent editions been dominated by Australia, England, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa.


Victoria's withdrawal had already placed the future of the event in doubt and raised questions about whether a Games with colonial origins was still relevant in the modern era, and over its place in an already packed global sporting calendar.

The Games has struggled to find a willing host in recent years and five of the last six editions have been held in Australia or Britain.

The English city of Birmingham, which had been due to host in 2026, stepped in to save the 2022 event after South Africa were stripped of hosting rights over a lack of progress in preparations.

Birmingham's move led to the CGF scrambling to find another host for 2026 and Victoria had been the only viable candidate after several other cities withdrew from the bidding process over cost issues.


The proposal had received a mixed response in Malaysia, which hosted the 1998 edition, due to concerns about costs and the lack of preparation time.

The Malaysian Olympic Council had this week proposed holding a downsized Games, with limited spending on athletes' accommodations and smaller opening and closing ceremonies.

($1 = 0.7923 pounds)

(Reporting by Dania Azhar; Writing and additional reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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