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The Commonwealth Games: Is The End In Sight?


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If there is still a community here on GB Forums, I wouldn't mind having a centralized discussion here on what the future, if there will be one, of the Commonwealth Games.

Clearly we have seen since at least 2014, a disinterest in hosting what is now considered an anachronism from another time. 

Cost verses benefits seems to be what causes local politics to shy away without the help of provincial/state or central governments whom are usually luke-warm to dishing out money for what is little more than a 14 day sports extravaganza of countries that only have British colonization...in most cases...not entirely peaceful, as a distant connection.

The big elephant is expense...We have seen what can go wrong when it gets out of hand, especially when "developing" countries try to host...The mismanagement and corruption of 2010 being a letdown after decades of India wanting to host and the heartbreak of South Africa not willing to back it's host city, Durban, in providing funding. Both countries considered wealthy enough but unable to justify the pointless over reaching costs.

And now we have the shattered World of the "Post Covid Era" beginning to emerge from hibernation. Sports around the world now having to rebuild momentum lost. Even the Olympics are struggling to host a delayed games as I write this in 2021. 

If the Games are to survive, what needs to be done?

Points to ponder:

Commonwealth relevance: Are we still a unified Commonwealth? Countries are beginning to retreat into regional trade and cultural blocs of relevance.

Demise of Queen Elizabeth II: The aura surrounding QEII is as astounding as it will ever be. She has always been considered the glue that holds the Commonwealth together but we need to realize that her reign is almost over, every chance she will be around for 2022, thankfully another home games for her, but 2026 suddenly doesn't look realistic anymore after she lost her "rock" this year. Quite a few countries may consider it an opportune time to call it a day when she passes.

City hosts v Regional hosts: We all know that money is the central issue here. This multisport event has to contend with others as well as singular events that can unify a nation rather than focusing on a sole city. Could it be more prudent for the CWGs to become a nationwide event just to spread out the costs? This was an idea that New Zealand proposed some time back...mainly to hold back apathy from regional centres who rightfully want to know why their taxes should be used.

Regular guaranteed hosting circuit: Even if it's just for 12 to 16 years. Could the CGF follow the IOC in awarding multi-host regulars...currently the only countries that take interest are Australia and the UK. Nothing wrong in having pre-prepared facilities to use. (See below)

Make use of what you got: Nothing wrong in refurbishing facilities rather than building bigger and better only to find that you are left with a ghost town costing locals for years after. Temporary facilities are considered a normal thing nowadays, and not considered a cheap cop out. The IOC is finally realizing this. We have seen good examples in 1994, 2014 and even 2018 (those games considered one of the best). 2002 was seen as another example of a city using what it had and used a pre planned built stadium (Man City's) as it's focus that worked well...which leads to:

Sustainability: What of the legacy? The classic is always the "got to have" purpose built Athlete's village. Long gone are the days of the local university's student dorms or military base barracks being used. Today we build neighborhoods in multi stack form...This is the crux of a hosting as most cities need new housing estates and nowhere in the world can they be built fast enough...2014 was one of the best examples and this is what could tilt a games in a city's favour. It's a great excuse to give it a go...Something Auckland has tried to push in it's plans.

Regional and Global Security: Clearly we have seen a dangerous paradigm shift in global politics, more so in the last decade, as the world becomes a more unstable place. Covid has only inflamed this. We have gone from one Superpower in the last 25 years to the birth of a new one and return of another. We have seen the rise of Left and Right extremisms, UK leaving Europe causing instability, and a surge in military spending. Countries are moving to secure their positions in this new world and want a new outlook....

Yes there will still be a Commonwealth of sorts, but it will keep fading into the either and, although there may be a couple of hosting's left for them, I cant see the Commonwealth Games making it out of, let alone, into the 2030s unless a whole new iteration for the is made.

My thoughts...What are yours?



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Beyond the fear of cost overruns, I think one of the major concerns is that people no longer see the benefits of hosting as a real benefit. When handled well, mega events can be useful tools for urban redevelopment. But unfortunately gentrification is now a dirty word, as people want both low housing prices/cost of living AND high wages in a thriving economy. (Never mind the fact that this is a contradiction: your cost of living is your neighbors' wages.) The success of London 2012 in gentrifying east London has not been entirely welcomed, for example.

In Canada I think the desire for cultural connection to the UK remains strong, as it is a major part of their national identity. (Along with ice hockey and pretending to be able to speak French.) But very few people in Canada care about sports like netball or track cycling, and very few people watch the games or even know when they are being held.

I think the Commonwealth Games should become a Commonwealth Festival with culture (music, arts, cuisine, etc.) given an equal share of the focus with sport. As a semi-outsider it seems like the other countries of the Commonwealth still care a great deal about cultural ties with the motherland and each other. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I really hope you are wrong. I love the Commonwealth Games. There is a reason why they call it the Friendship Games. That is because of what the CWG is all about! There are cities in the Commonwealth that can host the games but for whatever reason aren't putting their hands up. Yes that is right, I am looking at you New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Kuala Lumpur, Wales, Sri Lanka, South Africa.

Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, Tasmania all haven't hosted the Games in Australia so they could host it to provide a different city if it needs to come back to Australia.

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