No hard feelings over Durban 2022‚ says Commonwealth CEO

An artist’s impression of various venues to be prepared for the Commonwealth Games in Durban.
An artist’s impression of various venues to be prepared for the Commonwealth Games in Durban.
Image: SUPPLIED Durban Commonwealth Games bid committee

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) CEO Dave Grevemberg says there’s no hard feelings over the Durban 2022 fiasco‚ adding the CGF would even entertain another bid one day.

“There’s absolutely no resentment to South Africa‚” Grevemberg told SowetanLIVE in an interview in Gold Coast on Monday. 

“They did the best they could under the circumstances. Some things changed and we needed to move forward‚ but we are committed to an African Games at the right time‚ right place‚ right people for the right purpose.”

Durban was awarded the rights to host the Games in 2015‚ but was stripped in early 2017 after national government had failed to sign various financial guarantees. 

Birmingham will instead stage the 2022 showpiece.

“There was tremendous passion from the city and the region [province] … ultimately it does require all the governments working together and willing to meet their commitments‚” said Grevemberg‚ who ran the 2006 IPC swimming world championships in Durban. 

He believed the reluctance came from national government‚ which appeared to think it had been burned by football’s world governing body‚ Fifa‚ over the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

“I think there was a real stigma around Fifa 2010 and we’re not Fifa … that’s something the South African government‚ if it has unresolved issues‚ needs to take up with Fifa.” 

He added the Durban Games had been politicised‚ with some political parties describing it as a “vanity project”. 

“That’s not what we signed up for either‚” said the CEO‚ pointing out the Games were supposed to have a positive impact on host cities‚ as has happened at Manchester 2002‚ Melbourne 2006‚ Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014. 

The CGF would in future take a more active role in the evaluation of bids and delivery of Games. 

“It’s accelerated our need to be better owners of the Games property to be able to support cities.”

The CGF would work alongside organising committees to ensure the Games were more affordable‚ more appealing and were run more efficiently. 

“We are also reducing the burden of cost in the bid process. It’s a more consultative process and we’re actually providing feasibility support … you get a report from us before you begin to pursue this.”

Grevemberg was confident the Games was a property that would survive despite sceptics predicting its demise. 

After Durban lost 2022‚ some 11 cities came forward to offer to take over‚ and at least four countries have shown interest in bidding in Games until 2030‚ what would be the centenary of the first showpiece in Hamilton‚ Canada. 

“These major events are about fit‚ it’s about having the right time‚ right place‚ right people with the right purpose.”

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