UK PM calls for Australian solution to hosting of Commonwealth Games

Downing Street says it hopes a “viable solution” can be found for the 2026 Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia, insisting the idea of Britain stepping in to host the event is “getting slightly ahead of ourselves”.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state’s withdrawal on Tuesday, citing a substantial rise in predicted staging costs.

Other states then ruled out the possibility of hosting the Games.

“This is a disappointing outcome for both fans and athletes,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said.

“We hope that the Victoria state government, the Games federation and Commonwealth Games Australia will now work together to find a viable solution to hosting the event in 2026.”

It remains to be seen whether a British city or region comes forward to offer itself as a replacement, as was the case when the global governing body, the Commonwealth Games Federation, stripped South African city Durban of the hosting rights for 2022 back in 2017.

Birmingham ultimately won the race to stage those Games, with the government announcing in 2019 that the event would cost £778 million ($1.5 billion) to stage in total, split 75-25 between central government and Birmingham City Council.

Asked if the government would encourage a home nation to step in to host the 2026 event, the spokesman said: “We are getting slightly ahead of ourselves.

“In the first instance it’s for those bodies and groups I’ve just mentioned to have those discussions and see if a solution can be found.

“Obviously the UK has been honoured to host the Games twice in the past decade (Birmingham 2022 and Glasgow 2014) so we will see what comes out of those initial discussions.”

Victoria pulls pin on 2026 Commonwealth Games

The possibility was welcomed by Katie Sadleir, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

“The UK are fantastic hosts and we would be very open to having a conversation with them about it, if that’s something they would be interested in doing,” she said.

The national Commonwealth federations of England, Scotland and Wales expressed their disappointment at the news concerning Victoria.

Commonwealth Games England described the news as “hugely unsettling” for athletes.

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