The Australian state of Victoria pulled out of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games on Tuesday citing financial constraints and leaving the Commonwealth fraternity in a shock.
The State premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews took on to Twitter to announce the reason behind this shocking decision after a press conference in Melbourne.
He said that the initial estimated Aus $2 billion (US$1.36 billion) needed to hold the Games would more likely be around Aus $7 billion and it is too much for the state of Victoria.
"We have informed Commonwealth Games authorities of our decision to seek to terminate the contract and to not conduct, not host the Games," Andrews said further.
The event -- featuring 20 sports and 26 disciplines -- was due to be held across five regional hubs in the state, including Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Gippsland, and Shepparton, with each having its own athletes’ village.
While Andrews maintained that his conversation with authorities is amicable, Commonwealth Games Federation has blasted the move and termed it 'disappointing'.
In a press statement, CGF said, "We are disappointed that we were only given eight hours’ notice and that no consideration was given to discussing the situation to jointly find solutions before this decision was reached by the Government."
"Up until this point, the Government had advised that sufficient funding was available to deliver the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games," the statement read further.
The federation attributed the unique regional delivery model by Victoria as the major reason behind the price escalation.
Victoria had been awarded the event by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in April 2022 following a bid process affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of bidders due to the pandemic.
"Since awarding Victoria the Games, the Government has made decisions to include more sports and an additional regional hub, and changed plans for venues, all of which have added considerable expense, often against the advice of the Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games Australia," the CGF added in its statement.
Commonwealth Games Federation maintained that they will find a solution for the Games in 2026.
"We are taking advice on the options available to us and remain committed to finding a solution for the Games in 2026 that is in the best interest of our athletes and the wider Commonwealth Sports Movement," the CGF said in its concluding statement.
The Australian cities of Sydney, Perth and Hobart are some likely options to shift the Games to, as these cities were in talks with Commonwealth Games Australia before the bidding process. India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Canada are the four other countries which had bid for the 2026 CWG.