The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly voted for some radical changes in its new Strategic Roadmap for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. The changes provide greater flexibility to potential future hosts. CGF believes they will make the event more attractive.
The committee is still searching for a host city for the 2026 Games to follow Birmingham 2022.
CGF President Louise Martin said that the organization “is working very closely with many potential host countries, who have asked to keep our discussion confidential.” They hope to announce the host city by the end of next March.
What is the big change for future Commonwealth Games?
Under the new proposal, barring athletics and swimming, which will be the only two compulsory sports, there will be more flexibility in the choice of events.
The hosts can choose from a wider list of core disciplines, including sports that have previously been listed as optional like T20 cricket, 3x3 basketball and beach volleyball.
The organization claims this will allow the hosts to showcase their nation and culture, and enhance community engagement towards the Commonwealth Games. This could see the introduction of a sport like lacrosse if a Canadian city hosts the centenary edition of the Commonwealth Games.
To provide a blueprint for flexibility and certainty, the recommendation from the CGF is for approximately 15 sports to feature at the Commonwealth Games. There are compromises available, however, for the maximum number of sports.
The Commonwealth Games Federation also plans to explore esports as a possibility. CGF stopped short of introducing it into the main sports programme earlier.
The meeting also underlined that an integrated para-sports program must remain a key and focal part of the Commonwealth Games.
The 2026-30 Strategic Roadmap also gives opportunities to co-host potentially across several cities and even countries.
Future potential hosts are also to be encouraged to consider alternative athlete village solutions, rather than being required to accommodate athletes in a new-build environment or on a single site. Birmingham 2022 has already adopted this model. They are using university accommodation for next year’s Commonwealth Games.