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Commonwealth Games: 2026 event in doubt after Victoria cancels

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The 2026 Commonwealth Games are in doubt after the Australian state of Victoria cancelled its plans to host due to budget blowouts.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) struggled to find a host before Victoria volunteered in April 2022.

But the premier said the projected cost had now tripled and become “well and truly too much” for the state to bear.

CGF called the decision “hugely disappointing” and said it is “committed to finding a solution”.

The Commonwealth Games are a multi-sport tournament that take place every four years. They have only ever been cancelled during World War Two.

To be eligible to participate in the games, competitors must be from one of the Commonwealth’s 56 members. Most of the countries in the Commonwealth were once part of the British Empire.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday said Victoria had been “happy to help out” when approached to host last year, but “not at any price”.

Organisers had originally estimated the event – hosted across cities including Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat – would cost A$2.6bn (£1.4bn; $1.8bn) and the state government had billed it as a boost for the regions.

Australia has held the Commonwealth Games five times – including on the Gold Coast in 2018 and in the Victorian capital of Melbourne in 2006 – but all of the country’s states on Tuesday ruled out picking up the event.

New Zealand authorities also say they will not take on the games.

Organisers have had great difficulty finding viable tournament hosts in recent years.

The South African city of Durban was originally set to stage the 2022 games, but were stripped of hosting rights in 2017  after running into money troubles and missing key deadlines. Birmingham agreed to host nine months later.