Ongoing discussions at the weekend left the 2022 Commonwealth Games hosting rights up in the air, though officials were expected to make an announcement this week after international reports suggested Durban would be stripped of the quadrennial showpiece.
The final decision rests with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) executive, which was discussing the 2022 Games at its three-day quarterly meeting ending in London today.
Durban, the first African city to earn the rights for the Games, was facing financial constraints and stakeholders had missed various early deadlines set by the CGF.
Eighteen months after winning a lone bid, the hosting rights agreement had not been signed, payments had not been made to the international body and a local organising committee had not been formed.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula revealed recently that government, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), the City of Durban and the CGF remained at loggerheads after it was discovered the initial R6.4 billion budget wouldn’t be sufficient.
The Games bid cost about R100 million and the pillars of the city’s presentation to the CGF rested on existing core infrastructure and the close proximity of venues keeping costs and logistics to a minimum.
With about R1 billion earmarked for athlete development, the bid campaign also focused on the potential legacy of the spectacle.
If Durban loses the rights, England and Australia have been tipped as potential hosts.