Commonwealth Games Wales have today reacted to the Welsh Government's announcement that Wales will not be bidding to host the 2026 Games.
Whilst disappointed with the decision, Commonwealth Games Wales have also welcomed the Economy and Infrastructure Secretary's commitment to prioritising a review of sports facilities provision in Wales and to consider future bidding opportunities.
Since 2012, Commonwealth Games Wales have been working with partners - including the Welsh Government - to carry out a feasibility study for bidding and hosting the Commonwealth Games. The result of this study was positive and further work was undertaken this year on a detailed business case including the scope of the Games should they be hosted in Wales.
Helen Phillips, who chairs the Board of Commonwealth Games Wales said: “Naturally we are disappointed to hear of the Welsh Government’s decision not to support a bid for Wales to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Wales is a proud sporting nation and I'm sure would have got fully behind a bid but due to economic uncertainty we understand that now may not be the right time.
"We very much welcome the Welsh Government's commitment to improving sports facilities across Wales, and to look at delivery options for future bidding cycles. We were encouraged by the cross-party support for the ambition to consider a bid and we will continue to work with the Government and others to look at the possibility of Wales bidding for a future Games."
She added: "We reviewed several options including an All-Wales, South & North East Wales and a South only Games, always having in mind what would attract other Commonwealth Games Association's votes and what would attract the Commonwealth's best athletes. All the hard work done over the last few years shows that Wales could develop a winning bid and host a fantastic Commonwealth Games. This would bring benefits for the whole nation especially in terms of health and wellbeing, with the Active Wales programme as part of the journey to the Games."
Chris Jenkins, Chief Executive who led on behalf of Commonwealth Games Wales on the feasibility study said: "We would like to thank the Commonwealth Games Federation who have been very supportive of the innovations proposed by us.
"We would also like to thank all of those in Wales who have contributed their time and above all support for this feasibility study. Whilst the Government's decision regarding the 2026 Games is a disappointment, we are confident that Wales will bid in the future, just not now - and we'll play our full role in making it happen when the time comes."
David Grevemberg CBE, Chief Executive of the
Commonwealth Games Federation said: "We are obviously disappointed to hear
Wales will not be putting itself forward to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games
when the bid process commences in 2019. Commonwealth Games Wales, in
collaboration with its government partners, has worked hard to lay the foundations
of a dynamic, innovative and inclusive Games proposition and we will continue
to work closely with them to support their efforts to bring the Commonwealth
Games back to Wales in the future. We now look forward enthusiastically to
working with other Commonwealth cities and partners over the next three years
as part of the lead up to the 2026 bidding process.”