Surf City loses Games

14 March 2017 - 08:14 By MATTHEW SAVIDES and KYLE COWAN
Durban skyline.
Durban skyline.
Image: Supplied

Durban has lost the right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games because of "significant departures" from its bid undertakings.

So said the Commonwealth Games Federation yesterday after a meeting in London during which Durban was stripped of the Games.

"The federation has completed its review of the final information submitted by South Africa on November 30 to determine whether their proposals for hosting the 2022 Games are consistent with their original commitments and the host city contract," the federation said.

"It is with disappointment that the detailed review has concluded that there is a significant departure from the undertakings provided in Durban's bid and as a result a number of key obligations and commitments in areas such as governance, venues, funding and risk management/assurance have not been met."

The news was confirmed by the president of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Gideon Sam, yesterday.

"The Commonwealth Games Federation is looking for an alternative to Durban," he said.

Sam was in London attending meetings with the federation's executive board, which has been in a meeting that started on Saturday and ended yesterday.

Industry news site Beyond The Games said federation president Louise Martin travelled to Pretoria last week in a last-minute attempt to convince the government to put up financial backing for the Games - which were expected to cost about R8-billion.

Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula said yesterday he had not received an official communication from the federation. He said the government would respond at a press conference today.

Last week the Sunday Times reported that, according to the Department of Sport officials, the Commonwealth Games Federation wanted to "squeeze" the government for more cash than it had agreed to contribute. A source said the Treasury was still willing to guarantee the R4-billion it had agreed to contribute but would not meet the federation's additional requirement for double that amount.

Beyond The Games said the federation had begun speaking to potential replacement hosts. Liverpool in the UK has put its name forward and there is speculation that Sri Lanka is in terested. Australia, which is hosting the 2018 Games, has also reportedly offered to replace Durban.

DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal, Zwakele Mncwango was angered by the "waste" of the R118-million the Games had already cost eThekwini.