Just seven months after Brisbane was awarded the honour of hosting the 2032 Olympics, Victoria wants in on the global sporting action with plans to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games in locations across the state.
The state's government has secured exclusive negotiations with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), and if successful it could bring back the games to Victorian soil two decades after the last event in Melbourne in 2006.
Dubbed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews as Australia’s “sporting capital”, the state hosts annual events such as the Australian Open, the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the Boxing Day Test.
“This exclusivity speaks to the fact that we are the sporting capital of our nation. We have all that is needed to make an event like this a fantastic success for us and for everybody right across the Commonwealth," Premier Andrews says.
“We want to have as much of [the Commonwealth games] in regional Victoria as we possibly can.”
The Premier also says he is hopeful successful negotiations would “display the best of Victoria” and “create jobs and housing infrastructure that will deliver for the long term".
If the bid proves to be successful, the event would also follow up on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which delivered an estimated $2.5 billion boost to that region.
“This will be a game-changer for regional communities across Victoria, being able to watch some of the world's best athletes close to home,” Victorian Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas said.
“It will create lasting benefits for decades to come, with more jobs and support for businesses."
The Commonwealth Games Federation will assess the submission prior to any decision being made to award the games to Victoria.
“Hosting great Games is a key pillar in the Commonwealth Games Australia strategic plan and given our window for hosting the Games is 2026, we are thrilled to join the Commonwealth Games Federation in exclusive dialogue with Victoria to host the Commonwealth Games once again,” Commonwealth Games Australia (CGAus) president Ben Houston said.
The Commonwealth Games Federation notes it has been in discussions with multiple countries across the Commonwealth, with negotiations accelerating following the launch of the 2026/30 Strategic Roadmap in October last year. At the time, CGF president Dame Louise Martin said the Games needed to "adapt, evolve and modernise" to ensure continued relevance and prestige.
Following a Heads of Agreement for a formal exclusive dialogue period between CGF, the Victorian Government and CGAus, a submission will be developed focused on a new way of hosting the event.
"Following months of positive discussions, it is clear that Victoria has an exciting vision for a future Games which will provide many benefits for the community whilst leaving a significant legacy for the state," Martin said.
"Victoria is one of the world’s greatest sporting States and there is no doubt it has the venues, infrastructure, and people to stage a world class edition of the Games."
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