(Reuters) – Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said the city could step in to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games after Victoria placed the future of the quadrennial multi-sport event in doubt by pulling out due to projected cost overruns.
Victoria Premier Dan Andrews said the cost of the Games, which were to have been held in four regional hubs, could blow out to more than A$7 billion ($4.78 billion) from a budgeted A$2.6 billion if they went ahead.
Tate told Australian media that the Gold Coast, which hosted the Games in 2018, had the infrastructure in place to put the event on.
“The facility and the legacy facilities that we’ve had here are maintained to the highest level,” he said. “It’s easier to say no when you don’t have the facts, because then you expose yourself to many things, but I’ve got more of the facts than most because I was host of the 2018 Games,” he added.
“I know the budget and I know it can be done.” The Gold Coast lies south of Brisbane, which will host the 2032 Summer Olympics. Tate stressed that the government of Queensland would need to step in with additional funding, but added “we have all the boxes ticked for them to say yes easily”.
The proposal was backed by Athletics Australia. “As witnessed in 2018, the Gold Coast demonstrated its remarkable ability to host a Games of exceptional quality, and one that left a profound impact on Australian sport,” the body said in a statement.
“With an opportunity to make an impact on athletes aiming for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we firmly believe that the city is in a unique position to step forward and preserve the spirit of the Commonwealth Games.” Australia, by far the Games’ most successful competing nation, has hosted five of the previous 22 editions.
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