Craig Phillips
Commonwealth Games Australia bos Craig Phillips says the next Games may be held outside the nation. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS
  • Commonwealth Games

Next Commonwealth Games could move from Australia: CGA

Steve Larkin December 4, 2023

Australia’s Commonwealth Games boss concedes shifting the multi-sport event outside of the nation is increasingly likely.

Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive Craig Phillips hasn’t given up on the nation hosting the next Games, slated for 2026.

But the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) should “seriously consider” any offer from outside Australia, he says.

“We have indicated to (the CGF) … they would have our support in doing that,” Phillips told AAP on Monday.

“It’s our preference to host here and we will keep going while we think we have got options to explore.

“But if they have a better option, then they should seriously consider it.”

Nicole McDermott of Australia celebrates with flag at Gold Coast 2018.
 Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has decided against attempting a re-run of his city’s 2018 hosting. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS 

Asked if shifting the Games outside Australia was increasingly likely, Phillips said: “I think so.

“The people we spoke to in the Commonwealth Games family, I believe that the sentiment is very much still that the first priority is there is a solution here in Australia,” he said.

“But if that doesn’t materialise, then other options are certainly very much on the table.

“We have made it clear to the CGF that we feel an obligation to host, we would like to host.

“But if they come up with a better solution for themselves then ultimately so be it.

“If the CGF comes up with an offshore solution then … it’s better to have a Games somewhere than no Games at all.”

Australia hockey players at Birmingham 2022.
 The English city of Birmingham stepped in to host the relocated 2022 Games. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS 

Three un-named locations outside Australia have expressed interest to the CGF in hosting the next Games, most likely to be postponed until early 2027.

“The fact they are engaged in some of this dialogue is encouraging,” Phillips said.

“There’s still a way to go yet … at the moment, it’s no more than initial discussions, as I understand it.”

Phillips was disappointed but not surprised by Gold Coast’s Mayor Tom Tate ruling out his city as the next host.

Tate floated staging a joint Games with Perth but that prospect has been scrubbed, given a lack of state or federal government support.

No other state or territory government has publicly indicated a willingness to host, but Phillips is not giving up.

“We’re still in the process of having conversations, which I can’t reveal to you,” he said.

“We still want to pursue right to the very end any possibility here in Australia.

“By February, we will have a better understanding of whether we have got a viable option.”

Dan Andrews announces the withdrawal of Victoria's 2026 Games hosting.
 In July, then-premier Dan Andrews withdrew Victoria’s commitment to hosting the 2026 Games. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

Last July, Victoria pulled out as host of the 2026 Games, citing forecast costs rising from $2 billion-$3 billion to between $6 billion and $7 billion – figures contested by Games hierarchy.

Victoria was the second successive Commonwealth Games host to renege on its commitment.

In 2015, Durban in South Africa was named as host for the 2022 edition.

But just 17 months later, the city was stripped of the Games amid financial problems and missed deadlines, including failing to sign a host city contract or create an organising committee.

The English city of Birmingham stepped in as host of last year’s Games.