Malaysia rejects offer to host due to costs

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Image caption: Birmingham stepped in to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after the South African city of Durban withdrew

Malaysia has rejected an offer to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, the country’s sports ministry has said.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) offered Malaysia £100m as supporting funds after the Australian state of Victoria withdrew as host.

But Malaysia’s sports ministry said the offer “will not cover the overall cost of hosting a large-scale sports event”.

“Additionally, the economic impact could not be identified in this short timeframe,” it added.

Victoria’s withdrawal as host last July, because of soaring costs, has raised questions over the future of the Games.

Birmingham, which had been due to host in 2026, stepped in to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games when the South African city of Durban was stripped of hosting rights after running into money troubles and missing key deadlines.

President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Malaysia Mohamad Norza Zakaria had said the chance to host in 2026 was a “once in a lifetime opportunity to build on the success of 1998” – the only previous occasion the country has hosted the Games.

But Malaysia’s sports minister Hannah Yeoh said on Thursday it may be best for the country not to host if public funds are needed to stage the event.

Government spokesperson and communications minister Fahmi Fadzil said: “If we had longer, we would definitely do it, but because there’s such a short [amount of preparation] time, we definitely can’t do it.

“When we assessed the viability of hosting the Games, the length of time needed and the cost was seen to be particularly prohibitive.”

The government of Alberta, Canada has pulled its support for a bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games because of rising costs.

Alberta’s withdrawal means there are also currently no other firm bids to host the 2030 Games.

“The confidential process to determine a host is continuing with other interested Commonwealth Games Associations,” said a CGF spokesperson.

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