Commonwealth Games: Malaysia offered $200m to host 2026 Games, New Zealand supports

The 2026 Commonwealth Games could be staged in Malaysia after the country's Olympic Council said it has been offered $200 million to help the country host the event.  

It comes after the Games were left without a 2026 host when the Australian state of Victoria cancelled its plans last July because of soaring costs.  

Victoria paid the Commonwealth Games Federation AU$380 million in compensation after pulling out. At the time former premier Daniel Andrews said the cost of hosting had ballooned to more than AU$7 billion.

After months of speculation around whether the games would be able to go ahead, this offer has breathed new life into the hope it can go ahead as planned in 2026.   

"The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has offered Malaysia the opportunity to replace Victoria as hosts of the Commonwealth Games in 2026," a statement on the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) website said.  

"The offer includes significant financial investment of £100 million to support the local delivery and legacy planning of the 2026 edition."  

The funding has come from the compensation paid by the state of Victoria.   

Malaysia has hosted the Games once before, in the country's capital Kuala Lumpur in 1998.  

President of Commonwealth Games Association of Malaysia Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the chance to host in 2026 was a "once in a lifetime opportunity to build on the success of 1998" and will put the country "back on to the world sporting map".   

Sophie Devine looks on after being presented a bronze medal at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Sophie Devine looks on after being presented a bronze medal at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Photo credit: Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee supports Malaysia hosting the Games.   

"The NZOC is pleased that Malaysia is considering hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with a formal invitation to host issued by the Commonwealth Games Association," said an NZOC spokesperson.   

"The Commonwealth Games are a significant sporting event for New Zealand. The Games provide our athletes with a valuable opportunity to test themselves against the best in the Commonwealth and represent New Zealand at a pinnacle multi-sport event. We know that New Zealanders also love to watch and engage with the Games.  

"We look forward to formal confirmation of a Games host."  

Malaysia is also preparing to host the 2027 South East Asian Games, which will use similar infrastructure to the Commonwealth Games