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Victoria withdraws from 2026 Commonwealth Games hosting over rising costs

AUSTRALIA’S state of Victoria has said it will not host the 2026 Commonwealth Games because of a sharp rise in the costs.

The state said today that there were projected cost overruns, which are beyond the funding available.

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews said the cost of the Games, which were to have been held in four regional hubs, could grow to more than 7 billion Australian dollars ($4.8 billion). This is almost triple the initially budgeted A$2.6 billion.

“Frankly A$6-A$7 billion for a 12-day sporting event, we’re not doing that,” Andrews said at a media conference today.

“I will not take money out of hospitals and schools to fund an event that is three times the cost as estimated and budgeted for last year.”

Andrews said Victoria had already informed the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) but the cost of breaking the 2026 contract was yet to be decided.

The Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) expressed disappointment in the withdrawal.

“It’s a comprehensive letdown for the athletes, the excited host communities, First Nations Australians who were at the heart of the Games, and the millions of fans that would have embraced a sixth home Games in Australia,” CGA Chief Executive Craig Phillips said in a statement.

“The stated costs overrun, in our opinion, are a gross exaggeration.”

Five of the last six editions of the Commonwealth Games were held in Australia or Great Britain, with most of the former British colonies who form the event unable to fund the massive hosting costs.

English city Birmingham stepped in to host the Games last year after South Africa was stripped of them in 2017 over a lack of progress in preparations.

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