LONDON “stands ready” to step in and save the 2026 Commonwealth Games after Australia pulled the plug on hosting the tournament amid spiralling costs.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said the “sporting capital of the world” would be the perfect host after the success of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
GettySadiq Khan has said London is ready to step in to host the games[/caption]
PA:Press AssociationEvents could be hosted at Wembley[/caption]
GettyAnd at West Ham’s London Stadium[/caption]
But ministers fear Britain hosting the event for the third time in just 12 years is a major risk to the future of the Games.
The 93-year-old contest is in serious doubt after the Australian State of Victoria dramatically cancelled its plans on Tuesday less than three years before its start date due to budget blowouts.
The multi-billion pound event had been scheduled to run in March 2026 in various regional centres, including Melbourne.
However Whitehall sources have played down the prospects of Britain stepping in.
One said: “Obviously we want athletes to have the opportunity to compete and fans to enjoy, but we want the Games to be a success all over the world, not just here.”
No formal approach for help has yet been made to the UK Government or any decision made.
What would hinder any possible rescue job inside the corridors of power is the substantial costs involved, the short timeframe and the target of getting Uefa’s Euro football championships in 2028.
Birmingham stepped in to stage a successful 2022 Games when the South African city of Durban was stripped of hosting rights due to financial issues and missing key deadlines.
But the Brummie officials had the benefit of FIVE years to get everything ready.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) were completely flummoxed when they were told this week that the 2026 Games were being axed by the hosts.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that spending “6-7 billion Australian dollars” (£3.1-3.7billion) on the 12-day sporting event “did not represent value for money, that is all cost and no benefit”.
He added: “It’s more than twice the estimated economic benefit the Games would bring our State.
“When the Commonwealth Games needed a host city to step in at the last minute, we were willing to help – but not at price. And not without a big lasting benefit for regional Victoria.”
The only time the Commonwealths have ever been cancelled was during the Second World War.
The CGF said: “We’re disappointed that we were only given eight hours’ notice and that no consideration was given to discussing the situation to jointly find solutions prior to this decision being reached by the Government.
“Up until this point, the Government had advised that sufficient funding was available to deliver the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.
“We are taking advice on the options available to us and remain committed to finding a solution for the Games in 2026 that is in the best interest of our athletes and the wider Commonwealth Sport Movement.”
But there is a major concern the multi-sport tournament – formerly known as the British Empire Games – could soon become scrapped altogether unless they are postponed by several years.