Windhoek – It has now been confirmed that South Africa has been stripped of the right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after that country’s government failed to provide concrete financial guarantees for the successful staging of the multi-sport games.
Also, other commitments that Durban – which was to be the host city – made when it won the bid had still not been met nearly two years later. Durban presented a revised budget and hosting proposal to the Commonwealth Games Federation over the weekend, but the last-ditch effort to save Africa’s first international multi-sport event was not enough.
David Grevemberg, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said the city did not meet the criteria set by his organisation and the search for a new host city has already begun.
Durban was awarded the Games in September 2015 and was due to be the first African city to host the event, first held in 1930.
Liverpool and Birmingham have also expressed interest in staging the 2022 edition.
The Commonwealth Games are held every four years and feature athletes from more than 50 countries.
Last month, South Africa’s Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula indicated that Durban might not be able to host the 2022 event due to financial constraints.
Grevemberg said: “We are disappointed but it does not diminish our commitment to the African continent. We have had to postpone these ambitions to a later time.
“We all share disappointment that this ambition needs to be postponed right now. We remain committed to the inspiring potential of the Games on the continent.”
Grevemberg added that the South African government had not signed off on the decision for Durban to host the Games.
“It is with disappointment that the detailed review has concluded that there is a significant departure from the undertakings provided in Durban’s bid. As a result, a number of key obligations and commitments in areas, such as governance, venues, funding and risk management/assurance have not been met.”
Athletics Namibia (AN) president Erwin Naimhwaka expressed disappointment with the news, saying it was a big blow for African athletes, who would have competed in one of the biggest sports events on home soil.
“Obviously it’s very sad to hear such news, because it was going to be the first time for Africa to host the Commonwealth Games and it was going to be a great opportunity for African athletes to participate in their own backyard.
“Not just for the athletes, but also logistically, most African countries were going to have it easy in terms of preparations and traveling, as it was going to be in Africa.
“Those situations are not entirely surprising, as we, the developing countries, are also faced with a lot of challenges and it’s somehow understandable for the South African government to look at other pressing priorities and to put the hosting of the Commonwealth Games on ice,” Naimhwaka said.
– additional info: BBC