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Exclusive: CGF confirms Durban have been stripped of 2022 Commonwealth Games

Durban has been stripped of the 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

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Durban has been stripped of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has exclusively confirmed to insidethegames.

The decision was taken by the CGF's ruling Executive during a meeting this weekend and they are due to release more details later today.

But CGF chief executive David Grevemberg confirmed the decision today to insidethegames following the end of the launch of the Queen's Baton Relay for Gold Coast 2018, an event attended here by the Queen.

"We are sad, of course we are, but particularly for the people of South Africa," Grevemberg said.

"But, having measured the progress made by Durban 2022 against the bid commitments, we felt we had no choice to take this decision."

insidethegames had reported last Friday (March 10) that Durban would be stripped of the Games after CGF President Louise Martin failed to get assurances from the South African President Jacob Zuma that his Government would financially support the events.

It had been estimated that staging the Games in Africa for the first time would have cost at least ZAR8 billion (£498 million/$607 million/€567 million).

"The Commonwealth Games Federation has completed its review of the final information submitted by South Africa on 30th November, 2016 to determine whether their proposals for hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games are consistent with their original bid commitments and the host city contract," a CGF statement sent to insidethegames 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 under the revised proposition."

Gideon Sam, President of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and a vice-president of the CGF, had admitted last Friday that he expected Durban to lose the event due to the lack of financial guarantees.

"This is a huge disappointment for us and for the whole African continent," he told Reuters.

"But without the necessary Government guarantees, we couldn't move on.

"Everybody was very excited to see the Commonwealth Games staged in Durban, which was very well equipped to host the event, but once the economics started to play a role, it became difficult.

"We had hoped to make this a Games for all of Africa, and so this is a very sad day for the whole continent."

The South African city had been awarded the Games by the CGF at its Assembly in Auckland in September 2015 when they were the only bidder following the withdrawal of its only rival Edmonton.

Since then, however, they had not formed an Organising Committee or made any of the payments due to the CGF.

A new host city is now being sought.

Liverpool have already said publicly they are willing to step in.

Birmingham are also expected to confirm shortly that they are interested in replacing Durban and have also been speaking to the British Government to seek support.

Both Birmingham and Liverpool had already launched feasibility studies because they planned to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games so their plans are relatively well advanced.

"We are aware of the decision from the Commonwealth Games Federation to seek a new host for the 2022 Games," Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said.

"Here in Birmingham we are already in the advanced stages of producing a detailed feasibility study on what would be needed for a truly memorable Games in the city.

"That is due to be completed in the coming weeks and we are in close contact with the Government about the developing situation."

Melbourne, the 2006 Commonwealth Games hosts, and other Australian cities are also believed to have expressed an interest.

But the CGF may want to avoid consecutive Games in Australia as the Gold Coast is due the event next year.

"In line with the mandate from members at the 2016 General Assembly, the CGF is actively exploring alternative options, including a potential replacement host," said Martin.

"The CGF will continue to have an open dialogue with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and the Republic of South Africa and remains committed to realising the shared ambitions of a future Commonwealth Games in Africa.

"The CGF is fully confident and committed to delivering a successful Commonwealth Games for athletes and fans in 2022."

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