South African coastal city Durban will no longer host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in five year’s time, as the city did not meet financial demands levied by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Durban was officially chosen as the host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games at the Federation’s general assembly in New Zealand last year in April.
According to the South African government the decision was set to benefit the country’s economy with around $1.49 billion expected to be injected into the country.
The Kwazulu Natal city became the only host bidder for the multi-sports competition following the withdrawal of Canada’s Edmonton in February last year, due to financial concerns.
But a lethargic effort from the authorities and government’s failure to commit to the financial undertaking of hosting the games, has seen the games removed from Durban’s shores.
At the end of last year two key deadlines passed without resolution. A local organising committee was supposed to be set up within 180 days of winning the bid on April 1, while an initial payment of $1.79 million was required to have been paid, and was not.
The major disappointment for African sports fans is the fact that this would have been the first ever Commonwealth Games in Africa.
Chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, David Grevemberg, admitted that Durban being removed as host is a disappointment, but they will continue to work towards securing an African event in future.
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“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, Grevemberg said, according to BBCSport.
“We remain committed to the inspiring potential of a Games in the continent,” he added.
Explaining the issue that led to Durban being dropped as the host city, Grevemberg said the South African government failed to sign off on the decision for Durban to host the Games.
“We have a host city contract. It was signed by all parties on the day except for the South African government,” he said.
“We have engaged with the government to really try to work with their current circumstances but also uphold the commitments that were outlined in their bid. They were unable to do that at this time and we have had to look after the citizens and communities that our events serve.”
The 2018 Games will be held on the Gold Coast in Australia, and it seems that Birmingham or Liverpool will now need to come to the rescue of the 2022 games, as Durban will no longer host the first African games.
The Commonwealth Games have been held since 1930, with the competition taking place every four years, as athletes from over 50 countries compete.