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South Africa is Likely to Lose The 2022 Commonwealth Hosting Rights

Last year, South Africa managed to meet the final deadline and submitted requirements in line with all outstanding issues set by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), but its host city Durban may likely lose the hosting rights for the 2022 Games.

Early signs showed doubt following slow preparations after the host winners missed key deadlines and failed to hand in the documentation on time.

The fear is a likely reality following sports minister Fikile Mbalula’s statement with little optimism, in which he came out to state that the host city is facing a big obstacle with funding required prior to the Games.

According to Reuters, the minister was quoted saying, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“We gave it our best shot but we can’t go beyond. If the country says we don’t have this money, we can’t.”[/perfectpullquote]

In a press conference on Tuesday, Mbalula also said, “I don’t want to raise your expectations and say everything looks good, it doesn’t. We are unable to agree on the fundamentals (mostly money-related) and that is the operational budget.”

Durban was confirmed – in an announcement made by the CGF General Assembly in Auckland – as the host city in September 2015, after finishing as sole contenders in the bidding slot.

The unanimous vote was set to mark history for South Africa as the first African country to host the Commonwealth Games after comfortably eliminating stiff competition from Edmonton in Canada.

The opening ceremony which was scheduled for July 18 would also mark an important date, the birth of South African icon Nelson Mandela.

However, even with certain infrastructure in place – built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in addition to modifications required to fit the setting of the games – the organization is still in limbo.

The Commonwealth Games officials now await a recommendation on the fate of Durban’s hosting rights with the CGF due to meet in the UK next weekend, to decide on the way forward.

Admitting to a possible no-show, Mbalula confirmed the departure of a South African team to London and added that there was no financial resolution saying, “we can’t find each other on the final figures”.

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) chairman Tubby Reddy did not clarify on the latest developments but, confirmed the Confederation and Committee president’s presence at the London meeting.

“The only thing I know is that we‚ together with government‚ needed to submit some outstanding documents by November 30‚ which we did‚ and that the CGF is due to give a decision on the 10th or 11th of March,” he said.

It is reported that SASCOC spent nearly R120 million ($9 million) on its bid for the Games with total costs estimated at R8.2 billion ($600 million). However, economic revenue figures were anticipated to generate around R20 billion ($1.5 billion).

A CGF spokesperson commented earlier in the weekend saying, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“A review team appointed by the CGF, is in the final stages of evaluating the submissions received from South Africa to determine whether Durban’s proposals for hosting the Games, are consistent with their original Bid Commitments.[/perfectpullquote]

“A final recommendation will be referred to the CGF Executive Board once the review team has completed its deliberations.

“Given the variety and significance of the outstanding matters under consideration‚ it is anticipated that the review process will not be completed‚ and a recommendation made to the CGF Executive Board‚ before the end of February.”

The Commonwealth Games are held every four years and were inaugurated in 1930 with athletes representing over 50 countries, mostly of former British colonies.

Previous hosts include;

1930 – Hamilton, Canada

1934 – London, England

1938 – Sydney, Australia

* no games in 1942 or 1946 because of World War Two *

1950 – Auckland, New Zealand

1954 – Vancouver, Canada

1958 – Cardiff, Wales

1962 – Perth, Australia

1966 – Kingston, Jamaica

1970 – Edinburgh, Scotland

1974 – Christchurch, New Zealand

1978 – Edmonton, Canada

1982 – Brisbane, Australia

1986 – Edinburgh, Scotland

1990 – Auckland, New Zealand

1994 – Victoria, Canada

1998 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2002 – Manchester, England

2006 – Melbourne, Australia

2010 – New Delhi, India

2014 – Glasgow, Scotland

2018 – Gold Coast, Australia

2022 – Durban, South Africa



Featured photo: South Africa’s dream of setting continental precedence as hosts of the Commonwealth Games is likely to be shattered. (GETTY IMAGES)

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