CGF President Dame Louise Martin, right, said the 2026 Commonwealth Games had been discussed as "fully as we could" but wants the focus to be on Trinbago 2023 ©Getty Images

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) officials have again expressed their disappointment at the shock cancellation of Victoria 2026, and said discussions are ongoing regarding their options but the focus is on Trinbago 2023 here.

The Australian state had been due to host what was billed as the first regional edition of the Commonwealth Games in less than three years' time, but Premier Daniel Andrews delivered a stunning announcement last month in which he announced Victoria was pulling out due to increased costs and funding issues.

Andrews' justification for cancelling the event has been disputed, and lawyers acting for Victoria returned home from London without agreeing a compensation last month.

CGF President Dame Louise Martin said the issue and options for the 2026 edition were part of Executive Board discussions in Trinidad and Tobago before the Commonwealth Youth Games, but insisted she wanted the focus to be on this event featuring approximately 1,000 athletes from 71 countries and territories.

"We had a Board meeting two days ago where it was discussed as fully as we could and we discussed the options," Dame Louise said.

"What we said was as far as we are concerned, that is a Commonwealth Games of the future.

"We are concentrating now on this one here, and I certainly won't be talking about it any more because I need to concentrate on the youngsters here.

"It's their Games and they need to have the full attention."

CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir, furthest left, said the organisation was
CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir, furthest left, said the organisation was "disappointed for all who have put an extensive amount of work" into the 2026 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir concurred that discussions for the 2026 Commonwealth Games should not distract from the Youth Games.

"Clearly we are disappointed for all who have put an extensive amount of work over the last few years into the Victoria Games, and we've got some conversations we need to have, but right now this is about the youth," the New Zealander said.

"There are 2.6 billion people [in the Commonwealth], 60 per cent of them are under the age of 30.

"Here we've got a group that is a cohort of that, so this is our focus right now and we're looking forward to seeing the amazing talent being on the field."

CGF Athletes' Committee chair Brendan Williams of Dominica has also written to athletes admitting he was "profoundly disappointed by the Victorian Government's cancellation", and recognised "how deeply this has been felt by athletes".

Williams, a member of the CGF Executive Board through his role as the Committee's chair, urged all parties to work towards a solution in the interest of athletes.

"The Games have delivered iconic sporting moments, delivered more medals for women than men, delivered an integrated programme that puts Para and able-bodied athletes side-by-side on the world stage," he said.

"For so many athletes, representing your country at the Commonwealth Games, sharing experiences with athletes from different sports and different cultures, is the experience of a lifetime.

"The news regarding the 2026 Commonwealth Games will be unsettling for many athletes already on their pathway to 2026.

"However, from my position as your athletes' representative on the CGF Executive Board, I know that the CGF is focused on ongoing good faith discussions with the Victorian Government and can assure you that once those discussions are complete, the CGF will begin its search for a new host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games."

The shock cancellation of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games has left the CGF seeking a replacement host at less than three years' noitce ©Getty Images
The shock cancellation of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games has left the CGF seeking a replacement host at less than three years' noitce ©Getty Images

Williams, a former high jumper who represented his country at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and Glasgow, respectively, hopes that Trinbago 2023 will be a catalyst to help find an answer to crisis created by Victoria's decision to withdraw from hosting 2026. 

"As we prepare to celebrate the next generation of athletes at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago from August 4 to 11, I hope that everyone will come together in the weeks and months ahead to find solutions in the best interests of Commonwealth athletes," he wrote.

"Athletes remain at the heart of all we do and by supporting them to flourish, Commonwealth Sport as a whole will continue to thrive."

It is the second consecutive edition in which the CGF is searching for a replacement host, after Durban was stripped of hosting rights for 2022 due to financial issues and Birmingham in England stepped in.

The Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago are due to start tomorrow and run until August 11.