With Recent Host Issues, Future Of Commonwealth Games In Jeopardy

The Commonwealth Games are at a crossroads, with the quadrennially-held multi-sport competition experiencing host shuffling among other issues that may put future editions in jeopardy.

Paul du Feu, former president of the Commonwealth Games Association of Jersey, recently conveyed that the Commonwealth Games does not have support even among elite athletes.

“It’ll be a pity, but I honestly think it is coming to an end,” he said. “[I say that] Just because of the professionals at the very, very top of sport – the pressure at the very, very top of sport is immense,” he told BBC Radio Jersey’s Sport Matters podcast.

“At the World Swimming Championships in Doha, masses of the world’s best swimmers are not there because there’s an Olympics this year.

“They’re happy to miss the World Championships because they can’t afford to miss the Olympics, so there’s already a pecking order within the sport.

“The Commonwealth Games is way down the shopping list for those people.”

Du Feu was referring to the fact that this year’s World Championships in Doha was missing key would-be medalists including Ariarne Titmus and Kyle Chalmers of Australia, along with Chinese powerhouse athletes Qin Haiyang and Zhang Yufei, due to the competition’s proximity to Paris 2024 preparations.

The parallel carries weight when looking at the 2022 season which saw the Commonwealth Games on the same calendar as the Budapest World Championships and that year’s European Championships. Athletes wound up having to selectively choose which competitions to appear at, or at least peak at, that year.

As it stands, the 2026 edition of the Commonwealth Games is in limbo, as once-host Victoria, Australia withdrew its bid last year due to cost concerns. If no replacement host can be found, the competition may be delayed to 2027 or reportedly broken up into individual Commonwealth Championships until a host for the whole event can be found.

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snailSpace
1 month ago

The word ‘jeopardy’ always makes me think of leopards.

Jonathan
1 month ago

Can we please scrap these lesser meets (Commonwealth Games, Pan Pacs, European Championships, etc.) and just have a proper World Championships every summer except the Olympic year?

commonwombat
Reply to  Jonathan
1 month ago

Does that also include SC Worlds ? Otherwise, you then come across the issue that the sport already faces; that of finding willing hosts ?

USA hits the road with all due haste at the very suggestion of hosting one. Despite stepping in for 2022 SC, AUS is much more reluctant than they were in the past. Other than JAP & maybe KOR; you are looking at states with an authoritarian hue and/or oil $$$.

Oceanian
Reply to  Jonathan
1 month ago

Lesser meets like NCAAs?

Jonathan
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

College swimming and Short Course Worlds are fine. I was talking about lesser long course meets.

Pan Fan
1 month ago

They should just scrap commonwealth games.

It’s no longer relevant.

Oceanian
1 month ago

The Commonwealth Games Federation of Jersey….

A real powerhouse of world sport…

The Comm Games began to decline once they introduced team sports. The original charter specifically excluded team sports (except for relays, rowing crews etc). Now there is cricket, rugby, netball, basketball… no wonder they are getting too expensive to stage.

It would have been good if a while ago the CGF had instituted semi-permanent CG hosts. Say Sydney (AUS), Manchester (ENG), Vancouver (CAN) and maybe Delhi (IND) with the Games rotating to one of these every four years.

Most of these cities already have the arenas/infrastructure to host a multi-sport Games with minor refurbishments rather than wholesale construction.

If another other city wanted to host, they could bid… Read more »

commonwombat
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Fully agree that a good deal of the gigantism that has killed CG has been the introduction and proliferation of team sports but you ARE incorrect in saying that the charter prevented them. Lawn Bowls, very much a team sport, has been a core sport since CG inception in 1930 and has been part of every Games since other than 1966 in Kingston JAM where there was no suitable facility.

Your proposed “cycle” would have merit apart from the question we dare not ask “who will actually say We Want ‘Em” ?

  • Sydney doesn’t
  • Melbourne’s found they’re more hassle than they’re worth given they’re already having to underwrite existing annual “events”
  • none of the major CAN centres
… Read more »

Oceanian
Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

Lawn Bowls is hardly a team sport. There were only singles, pairs & fours at the inaugural games. A country could have sent just four reps and competed in these three events. Almost like relays.

I count a team sport as one where it’s just NATION vs NATION with no individual/other events.

Team sports (hockey, rugby, netball) were only introduced in 1998 – but more since. The CG did just fine without them

HeGetsItDoneAgain
1 month ago

Let the Americans in 🤷

Steve Nolan
Reply to  HeGetsItDoneAgain
1 month ago

i’d go to war again to make sure that never happens

Togger
1 month ago

Commies is down the pecking order, but until the most recent edition that didn’t matter too much as it was in the down year where there’s no Olympics or World Champs for the two anchor sports, athletics and swimming. That will be the case again in 2026, so the big names will likely be there.

The bigger problem for the Games is it’s hugely expensive and politically difficult in many of the Commonwealth countries as it’s seen as a legacy of colonialism, which leaves a grand total of one country willing to hold it, the UK.

Since the turn of the millennium, an event with 56 member states that’s only held once every four years has been hosted by all… Read more »

commonwombat
Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

It’s killed itself by “gigantism”; in essence becoming so bloated that they can no longer beg, plead or even coerce anyone to host them.

There has also been the issue that competition standards are “variable” to say the least with some sports (particularly non Olympics) being quasi-World Championships and others where medals are essentially “fools gold”. This variance in competition standards, even within sports/from event to event, has lead to the situation alluded to in the article of not being able to attract many top level competitors.

Can they be resurrected ? Only by scaling right back and culling a number of sports but even then this will be unlikely to address the issue of attracting top level competitors… Read more »

Togger
Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

Permanent home would have to be London. The nature of local taxation in the UK and the relatively broad powers of the London mayor means it’s definitely viable financially if the mayors wants it. The problem is it then lives on only at the whim of one person who will change every few years.

commonwombat
Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

Certainly some key venues are still in place BUT:

  • they will still need renovation to be brought back up to Olympic capacity
  • payout contracts for existing tenants
  • how do they pay for themselves when unused for 3 of every 4 years

Many venues were temporary and would have to be rebuilt. Some sites will have been sold off and redeveloped thus there will be a need to find new sites.

I’m not saying it can’t be done but rather it would still be quite an ‘ask’ both logistically and $$$$wise. You speak of the powers of London’s Mayor; he is also an elected politician and what is one the prime requirements for success ? That of reading public… Read more »

Togger
Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

It depends in part on the venue but for the big three venues, pool, velodrome and stadium there are existing solutions.

The pool is just used as a day to day public pool, there are no tenants as such to remove and it’s still definitely of competition standard. Ditto for the velodrome.

The primary tenant of the stadium is West Ham, who don’t need it in summer so the Games would be relatively easy to fit around that.

Lots of other venues, such as Eton Dorney, are permanent sports sites which wouldn’t be a problem to use again and others like the O2 are permanent events venues available for hire. London’s also got a lot of empty… Read more »

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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