Commonwealth Games: Lack of interest in hosting future Games

By Chris McLaughlinCommonwealth Games reporter, BBC Sport
Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games Federation is concerned about a lack of interest from member countries in hosting future Games.

So far, no member country has expressed serious interest in hosting the 2022 event ahead of a March deadline.

Some of the 70 members believe in-fighting threatens the CGF's future.

A CGF spokesman said an Extraordinary General Meeting was being held in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, at which "issues will be fully aired and resolved".

The 20th Games begin in Glasgow on 23 July, with Australia's Gold Coast due to host in 2018.

Money is the major factor in all bids - the Glasgow Games is estimated to cost over £500m to stage - and it is understood the global financial climate may be discouraging nations from bidding.

There are fears a major dispute over governance between the federation and its members could also be having a detrimental effect on interest.

One member nation's association president, who did not want to be named, told the BBC: "The current situation is not good.

"The fear is that, unless there are significant changes in the governance and management of the CGF, the future of the Games themselves may be in doubt."

When asked about the lack of interest in hosting the 2022 Games, a spokesman for the CGF said: "Clearly there is a lot of speculation from various sources and from around a half a dozen countries at the moment, but the deadline for [formal] bid lodgement is not until 2 March, 2015.

"The decision in relation to the award of the 2022 Games won't be taken until our General Assembly in New Zealand in September 2015. That's a long way off."

On the alleged in-fighting, he said: "I don't think it's correct to describe it as a dispute, although clearly there are specific issues."

The spokesman said that 38 recommendations had been made as a result of a strategic review, 30 of which were accepted by CGF members.

However, he added: "Eight, which are within the public domain, were tabled for discussion at our Extraordinary General Meeting. These issues will be fully aired and resolved there."

The EGM is to be hosted by the CGF president Tunku Imran, a Malaysian prince who has plans to move the organisation from London to Malaysia for tax purposes.

In-fighting has intensified in recent weeks following a secret letter from the chairman of Commonwealth Games England, Sir Andrew Foster, to a number of other nations including Scotland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The letter was sent in a bid to gauge the level of opposition to the board and highlighted a number of issues, including:

  • Concerns over the conduct of the CGF board
  • A pattern where members are not listened to
  • Concerns the CGF is out of touch with its membership

His letter also states that members were not consulted on decisions such as the proposed change of office to Malaysia.

Foster said: "We are currently concerned that there appears to be very few candidates for the 2022 games."

After the letter was leaked to the CGF, Imran, also a member of the International Olympic Committee, claimed Foster's comments were "discourteous, disingenuous and bordering on defamation".

Members of the Commonwealth have been competing together in a sporting capacity since the first Empire Games back in 1930.

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