Victoria is in pole position to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games after discussions were opened with the Australian state about holding the quadrennial event Down Under for the second time in eight years.
An announcement by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) on Tuesday revealed an exclusive dialogue period had been entered between the governing body, the south eastern Australia state and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA).
CGA and the Government will now draw up a Games submission with Birmingham in England the venue for this year’s edition after the tournament in 2018 was hosted by the Gold Coast.
Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria, said: “Victoria is Australia’s sporting state, and, if awarded, the 2026 Commonwealth Games would demonstrate to the world a new way to deliver the competition.
“We would hope to have the majority of events in our regional cities – to display the best of Victoria, create jobs and housing and infrastructure that will deliver for the long term.”
Australia has held the ‘Friendly Games’ on five previous occasions, first in Sydney in 1938 before Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast have been chosen to stage the multi-sport event respectively.
Victoria, if picked, will aim to show a new way of hosting the Games with multiple locations across the state used.
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula added: “Bringing the 2026 Commonwealth Games to Victoria will showcase our state globally, deliver major economic benefits and support jobs across our great state.”
When Melbourne, the capital of the state, hosted the Commonwealth Games 16 years ago, the tournament was deemed a huge success and various other sporting events occur in the vicinity on a regular basis.
This include the Australian Open in tennis, the Melbourne Grand Prix while the third Ashes Test took place in Melbourne in December.
CGA President Ben Houston said: “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 CGF in exclusive dialogue with Victoria to host the Commonwealth Games once again.
“A home Games provides immeasurable benefits for our Member sports and athletes and we look forward to working with both the CGF and the Victorian Government to bring a final Games plan to life.”
Victoria revealed its plans to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games back in 2017 but subsequently switched its attention to the 23rd Games and looks set to come out on top.