Scotland and its alternative to 2026 Commonwealth Games. TEAMSCOTLAND

Commonwealth Games Scotland is developing an innovative approach, without the need for significant public investment, that could provide solutions to replace the Australian city of Victoria, which withdrew as host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games last year.

The importance of the 2026 Commonwealth Games is demonstrated by the commitment of the CGS to seek alternatives to ensure that the Games are delivered on time, in 2026, following Victoria's withdrawal as host city until last year.

They have sought alternatives and have confirmed an innovative approach to deliver a solution for the 2026 Commonwealth Games without the need for significant public investment. 

The priority is to ensure that the Games go ahead, as they are crucial to the development of athletes and often act as a milestone in their international integration. Scotland is one of six countries to have taken part in every edition of the Commonwealth Games since the first in 1930, along with Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand and Wales.

It is currently uncertain what will happen to the Games, which were due to be held in Australia, so the CGS commissioned an evaluation in December 2023 to assess Scotland's viability as a cost-effective alternative host. 

This followed the Commonwealth Games Federation's decision to make £100 million (€117 million) available to host countries as part of an agreement with Victoria at the time of the withdrawal. Scotland is optimistic of a successful outcome.

A project is being developed with a refreshed format that would be delivered within a reduced budget, providing significant benefits to the Scottish economy and a potential model for sustainable Games in the future.

The modest budget will not require significant public funding, making it more viable, and will be in the region of £130-150 million. The core sports programme will consist of between 10 and 13 sports, and would make use of existing sports facilities and accommodation, rather than developing specific facilities at significant cost.

The aim is to use the £100 million contribution from the Commonwealth Games Federation and the balance from commercial income (ticket sales, sponsorship, broadcasting, etc.) to develop the 11-day sporting competition in July/August 2026. The Games are expected to generate between £100m and £200m of gross value added, with additional spending outside the UK of at least £100m.

"We know how important the Commonwealth Games are to athletes, sport and fans and we are concerned that the continued uncertainty over 2026 is affecting everyone involved," warned Ian Reid CBE, President of the CGS. "It is vital that the Games take place in this cycle and we hope that a positive outcome can be achieved through the CGF's discussions with other countries," he added.

Ian Reid CBE, President of the CGS. GETTY IMAGES
Ian Reid CBE, President of the CGS. GETTY IMAGES

Commenting on the proposal and how it came about, the CGF President said: "We also wanted to ensure that we left no stone unturned in our search for solutions if a viable alternative did not materialise, but we recognised the need for a model that did not rely on large public investment."

He did not hesitate to use the capital's recent history to argue that quality events can be delivered without high cost: "Glasgow has a fantastic track record of hosting major sporting events at a reasonable cost, with world-class facilities and expertise already in place as a legacy of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games a decade ago."

The CGF will make a final decision on the host city next month, and various reports suggest that the city could be a back-up option if a better alternative does not materialise.

"We believe that our concept offers the CGF a viable, cost-effective and exciting solution which, most importantly, does not require significant public funding," concluded the head of one of the 74 Commonwealth Games Associations that are members of the Commonwealth Games Federation.