Aug 4, 2023, 6:26am EDT
North America

Is this the end of the Commonwealth Games?

2022 Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi, Britain's Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Louise Martin during the opening ceremony REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo
REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo

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The News

The Canadian province of Alberta pulled its bid for the 2030 Commonwealth Games, in the latest blow to the embattled sports event.

We’ve collected insights into why the Games, which include dozens of countries largely from the former British Empire, might be in peril.

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  • Alberta’s decision to withdraw its bid largely came down to fears that the cost to taxpayers was too high. Dan Mason, sports management professor at the University of Alberta, said the time wasn’t right for Alberta to host the Games, in part due to rising interest rates and the high cost of living. “I think that the public appetite is probably just not where we need to be in order to host an event like this,” he said. — Edmonton Journal
  • The Australian state of Victoria dropped its plan to host the 2026 Games last month, prompting Steve Georgakis, senior lecturer of sports studies at the University of Sydney, to speculate that the event is facing a turning point at the same time that Australia questions its place in the Commonwealth. “We’re now a very diverse nation. So why do we really have to promote something which raises negative issues associated with colonialism?” he asked in a recent interview, adding that Victoria’s decision could be “the final nail in the coffin for the Commonwealth Games.” — Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Sports historian Matthew Klugman said that Victoria’s decision is a possible “death knell” for the Games. He added that nearly a century into its existence, there is far less interest in the competition than there used to be. Part of that disinterest comes from a different view of the Commonwealth Games as a whole: At the first event in 1930, it was called the Empire Games, and was promoted as a way to keep the British Empire together. “In an empire that’s starting to crack under a whole heap of challenges, it is still seen as a chance to maintain and solidify power,” Klugman said. — BBC News
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Know More

Alberta Tourism Minister Joseph Schow said that the high burden the Commonwealth Games would put on taxpayers was a key factor in the government’s decision to cancel its bid, but Victoria’s decision to pull out of hosting the 2026 Games last month also factored in.

Speaking to media Thursday, Schow said Victoria’s cancelation was ”part of the conversation.”

Victoria also cited the cost of funding the games in its decision to pull from hosting the 2026 event.