Durban formally submits bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 2, 2015) (REUTERS) – Durban formally handed over its bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games at a ceremony in London on Monday (March 2).

Team Durban presented their proposal to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President, Prince Imran of Malaysia, at Mansion House, the home and office of the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Durban is bidding to become the first African city to host the multi-sport competition and it is the only city officially to lodge a proposal so far for 2022.

If successful the opening ceremony will be held on July 18, 2022 — Nelson Mandela’s birthday. The city’s Moses Mabhida Stadium would host the athletics as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

The bid will now be assessed by the federation’s Evaluation Commission and the CGF will announce at its annual General Assembly in Auckland, New Zealand on September 2 whether it is successful.

Several cities, including Edmonton and London, considered bidding for the 2022 Games, but were dissuaded by the financial implications. Team Durban claims it is already has most of the infrastructure in place and hopes it can be a platform for an African city to host an Olympic Games in the near future.

Durban hosted matches in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 2003 Cricket World Cup and most recently in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

South Africa’s Olympic champion in the 100-metre breaststroke, Cameron van der Burgh, said in London on Monday: “I think a lot of people shall we say see South Africa still as an emerging economy, emerging country but you know we really have a lot to offer and I think that we really proved that in 2010 with the World Cup; we did such a great job and if we can host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, it’s the first step in trying to host something like the Olympic Games which obviously is very close to my heart and I think will benefit for all the athletes who come in South Africa.”

Prince Imran said Africa was ready to host a Commonwealth Games and hoped it would provide the platform for a future Olympics on the continent.

“I hope it is a Games which everyone will embrace as a first Games for Africa and the legacy of not only South Africa but Africa really continuing to bid for and even host successful future whatever Games and it’s just a catalyst for African sport,” he said.

The Canadian city of Edmonton withdrew its bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games over economic concerns in the wake of a drop in worldwide oil prices last month.

Edmonton’s decision left Durban as the only city vying to host the Games and Prince Imran said the CGF as well as every major sport governing body has to make mutli-sport events more financially attractive for cities if the competitions are to survive.

“Owners of Games like ourselves, like IOC must — and IOC are already starting to do it — must make it cost effective, easier for governments to bid and to know the limits of how much they’re going to have to fork out basically because in so many recent Games, particularly Olympics, all the original budgets have been overshot whereas Glasgow proved that they could do a Games under budget so we should learn from Glasgow and then move on to Gold Coast and then Durban to see how we can continue this trend of trying to make Games more affordable to host cities,” he said.

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.