As Glasgow named as Commonwealth back-up host, the sun may be setting on 'Friendly Games' – Scotsman comment

After three places turned down the chance to host the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow has been put on standby

The Commonwealth Games may be a four-yearly festival of sporting fun but, it seems, the appetite for its attractions is waning. Victoria in Australia withdrew as the 2026 host last year because of rising costs, and then Singapore and Malaysia both turned down the chance to take over – despite the latter being offered £100 million.

It’s perhaps not surprising given the 2022 event in Birmingham ended up costing £780m, with a former city council adviser concluding it had been a mistake – particularly as, since hosting the Games, Birmingham has effectively gone bankrupt. However, Glasgow has now been named as a back-up option for a scaled down event with just ten to 13 sports on show, a budget of £130m to £150m – and no public funds.

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The so-called ‘Friendly Games’ are great for the athletes, but given the costs, public apathy and its apparently diminishing number of ‘friends’ on the world stage, it may be time to ask questions about whether this legacy of Empire – a good-hearted attempt to maintain friendly links with former colonies – can actually continue.



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