M’sia rejects offer to host 2026 Commonwealth Games

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22: Malaysia has rejected the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)’s offer to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The Youth and Sports Ministry announced through a statement that the decision was made at the Cabinet meeting today after considering all aspects of hosting the Games and their implications.

It added that the economic impact of hosting the quadrennial Games could not be identified in the short term.

The ministry also announced that the MADANI Government wanted to focus on sports development and the welfare and well-being of the people for now.

“The CGF delegation met the Youth and Sports Minister (Hannah Yeoh) and held a briefing session regarding the offer to host the Games, which was also attended by the Finance Minister II (Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan) on Feb 5.

The Malaysian government, however, expressed its appreciation to the CGF for offering it the chance to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said on Friday (March 15) that the government would scrutinise the details and obtain the views of all parties, including the Youth and Sports Ministry, before making a final decision on the offer to host the Games.

The state of Victoria in Australia, which was supposed to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, withdrew last July due to an increase in hosting costs, from the initial expectation of A$2.6 billion (about RM8.09 billion) to A$7 billion (about RM21.78 billion).  

The Victoria government was also reported to have agreed to pay A$380 million for breach of contract when it could not host the Games scheduled to be held from March 17-29, 2026.

Following that, the CGF offered a fund injection of £100mil (RM602 mil) to Malaysia, which hosted the Games in 1998, and other member countries to try and save the quadrennial Games.

Not only Victoria, India also was not interested in being the replacement host for the 2026 edition while Alberta, Canada also pulled out from the 2030 Commonwealth Games bidding process a week after Victoria’s withdrawal.

Of the 74 CGF member nations and territories, only England, Canada, Australia, Wales, New Zealand, Jamaica, Scotland, India and Malaysia have hosted the Games.