South Africa’s Durban only candidate for 2022 Commonwealths
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The South African city of Durban was the only candidate left to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the first in Africa, after Edmonton withdrew its bid because of economic insecurity.
Edmonton and Commonwealth Games Canada said on Tuesday they will instead focus on bidding for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Edmonton’s decision left Durban, on South Africa’s east coast, as the only option for 2022. The winning city will be formally announced in September.
Durban’s bid committee said on Wednesday it noted Edmonton’s withdrawal, but was still following “due process” with its own bid ahead of the March 2 deadline to lodge papers. Spokesman Faizal Dawjee said Durban would meet the deadline.
The Commonwealth Games Federation said it was confident there would still be “a great 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
“We are obviously disappointed to hear Edmonton will not be part of the host city bidding process ... we now look forward enthusiastically to working with the Durban 2022 bid team,” said David Grevemberg, chief executive of the CGF.
Durban’s intention to host the Commonwealth Games has been viewed as preparation for a possible South African bid to host the Olympics, either in 2024 or 2028. However, South African officials have not yet committed to an Olympic bid despite the country being considered a good contender following its widely praised hosting of the 2010 soccer World Cup, the first in Africa.
Africa has never hosted the Olympics.
Explaining Edmonton’s decision, Mayor Don Iveson said the expected games cost of about 1 billion Canadian dollars ($795 million) was too high for Alberta’s declining economy. There had also been a provincial leadership change since the bid was first announced, and most of the funding would have come from the province.
The Edmonton statement said the Alberta provincial government has had its finances significantly affected by a drop in world oil prices since Edmonton announced its intention to bid.
“In light of this, we determined that we could not in good conscious put forth our bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” bid chairman Reg Milley said.
Edmonton hosted the games in 1978.
The next Commonwealth Games in 2018 will be held on the Gold Coast, Australia.