Durban is the only city vying to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after the Canadian city of Edmonton withdrew its bid because of economic concerns in the wake of the drop in worldwide oil prices.
The decision, which comes weeks ahead of the March deadline to submit bids, leaves Durban as the only other city contending to host the multi-sports event.
Durban’s bid committee said on Wednesday that it had “noted Edmonton’s decision to withdraw from the bid process to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. As the bid committee for the City of Durban, we are required to follow due process and lodge our bid with the Commonwealth Games Federation,” according to Eyewitness News.
Commenting on the announcement, Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg said he was looking forward to realising the ambitions of Africa’s first Commonwealth Games.
“We now look forward enthusiastically to working with the Durban 2022 bid team and their partners through the evaluation process.”
“We are of course very saddened by this decision, but we know that this is the right one for the future of our city, province and country,” said Simon Farbrother, chief executive of the Edmonton bid committee.
“The Commonwealth Games have strong roots in Canada and we plan to be able to come back for the 2026 Games should the economic status allow.”
The Commonwealth Games are held every four years and feature athletes from more than 50 countries. The next event will be held on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018.
The host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is scheduled to be announced in September.
Edmonton has hosted the Games before, in 1978, while Canada hosted the inaugural Games in 1930 (Hamilton), 1954 (Vancouver) and 1994 (Victoria).
According to officials, the Alberta government has seen its fiscal programme drop to a $7-billion deficit from a $500-million surplus, owing to falling oil prices, since Edmonton announced its intention to bid last year.
The bid committee said the drop in the price of oil, a major Canadian export, will have a significant impact on the economy, affecting most sectors throughout the province. – Reuters, Staff Reporter