Malaysia offered to host 2026 Commonwealth Games

Malaysia has announced that it has been offered £100 million to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, stepping in after the Australian state of Victoria canceled its plans due to escalating costs. The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) received a formal invitation from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to replace Victoria as the host. The £100 million funding is intended to support the local delivery and legacy planning of the 2026 Games.

Malaysia previously hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1998 in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. The President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Malaysia, Mohamad Norza Zakaria, described the opportunity to host the 2026 Games as a “once in a lifetime opportunity to build on the success of 1998” and put the country “back on to the world sporting map.”

The CGF, in advanced discussions with potential hosts, mentioned that the £100 million financial and strategic support was made available as part of the settlement following Victoria’s withdrawal. The CGF is seeking a solution for the 2026 Games that inspires athletes and transforms the event into a sustainable model. Malaysia’s track record of successfully delivering sporting events, particularly the 1998 Commonwealth Games, is seen as an encouraging factor.

The Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport event held every four years, with participation open to competitors from the Commonwealth’s more than 70 nations or territories. The 2026 Games faced difficulties in finding a host after Victoria’s initial plans were canceled due to cost overruns. Durban was originally set to host the 2022 Games but lost hosting rights in 2017, leading to Birmingham stepping in.

While the CGF is engaged in positive discussions with potential hosts, the future of the Commonwealth Games remains uncertain, with the recent absence of the event from a list of 70 major events that UK Sport expressed interest in hosting over the next 15 years. The focus appears to be on establishing a sustainable model for the Commonwealth Games in the future.

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