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Victoria state pulls out of hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games

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Australia’s Victoria state has withdrawn as host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games because of a massive increase in the projected cost of staging the event.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday said his government last year agreed to host the next edition of the quadrennial event “but not at any cost”.

He said they had initially budgeted 2.6 billion Australian dollars (£1.4 billion) to stage the Games in five regional cities, but recent estimates put the potential cost as high as 7 billion Australian dollars (£3.7 billion).

Andrews told a news conference he’d notified Commonwealth Games organisers of his government’s decision to pull out of the hosting contract.

“Today is not about finding fault with those cost estimates,” he said, declining to outline the reasons for the cost discrepancy.

“Frankly, 6-7 billion Australian dollars for a 12-day sporting event, we are not doing that – that does not represent value for money, that is all costs and no benefit.”

The Games had been scheduled for 17 -29 March 2026 in the regional centres of Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland and Shepparton in regional Victoria.

The state government had promoted the multi-city model as a game changer, with the five regional centres hosting 20 sports and nine fully-integrated Para sports.

The government’s website had previously promoted Victoria 2026 as a showcase of “what makes the people of our state tick: our unity, our diversity, our sense of community, our welcoming attitude and our love of sport”.

Birmingham stepped in to host the 2022 Games in England to replace Durban, South Africa.

Victoria state previously hosted the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

The last edition of the Games held in Australia was on the Gold Coast, Queensland state, in 2018.

The Gold Coast is part of the southeast Queensland area that is scheduled to host events during the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.

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