The 2026 Commonwealth Games has been thrown into chaos after Australia’s state Victoria pulled out of hosting the event.
Victoria, awarded the Games last March after Games organisers had failed to find host cities following Covid, cited running costs over $3.7 billion as the main concern from a budgeted £1.4bn.
Hockey Australia called the decison “hugely disappointing” on Tuesday, adding that it’s athletes would miss a “cherished and missed opportunity” to compete on home soil.
Victoria premier Dan Andrews said on Tuesday: “Frankly A$6-A$7 billion for a 12-day sporting event, we’re not doing that.
“I will not take money out of hospitals and schools to fund an event that is three times the cost as estimated and budgeted for last year.”
The Commonwealth Games Federation said that decisions to host the event across multiple cities, as well as addingmore sports to the Games programme added “considerable expense”.
The CGF added: “We are disappointed that we were only given eight hours’ notice and that no consideration was given to discussing the situation to jointly find solutions prior to this decision being reached by the Government.”
Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) admitted the pull-out was “beyond disappointing”.
“It’s a comprehensive letdown for the athletes, the excited host communities, First Nations Australians who were at the heart of the Games, and the millions of fans that would have embraced a sixth home Games in Australia,” CGA chief executive Craig Phillips said.
“The stated costs overrun, in our opinion, are a gross exaggeration.”
The Games were set to return to Australia for a sixth time, although this was the first time that a state or region has been handed the multi-sport competition. Melbourne has previously hosted the 2006 Games.
Hockey was one of 16 sports confirmed for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with England women and Australia men set to defend their titles.
Adelaide had been a previous candidate to host the 2026 Games but pulled out in 2020.