Body blow

JOA president believes Commonwealth Games potential cancellation could hurt sport

CHRISTOPHER SAMUDA, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, is calling the news that the Australian state of Victoria has withdrawn from hosting duties for the 2026 Commonwealth Games a massive blow to not only the organisers, but to sport overall if a new host isn’t secured.

“Victoria’s withdrawal from the 2026 Commonwealth Games is not only a blow to the Commonwealth Games Federation, the governing body, but is also a body blow to sport as uncertainty of identifying a new host in a relatively short time will be challenging,” he reasoned.

Victoria’s withdrawal is reported to have been triggered by overbearing financial costs, which have tripled their initial budget.

Samuda further stated that following the much-talked about 2018 staging, future hosting cities could face reputational damage if these standards are not met.

“The Federation will have to search in earnest and negotiate with cities that already have the infrastructure to deliver a game of the quality and standard of the 2018 Gold Coast Games, which many are of the view is the standard by which others will be judged. Moreover, there will be a reputation risk if negotiations are either unsuccessful or become protracted,” Samuda added.

Australia has been host of the Commonwealth Games, a multisport tournament like the Olympics, on five occasions (1938, 1962, 1982, 2006, and 2018). While Samuda voiced that the possible postponement would not have an effect on the JOA, he pointed out that the political factor in this regard could have either a positive or negative effect on the selection of a new hosting city.

“There is also a political factor, which could either facilitate or frustrate. The postponement will not have at all an adverse effect on the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) from a management perspective and also from a financial perspective for our business model insulates us from such occurrences and permits us flexibility,” the president pointed out.

Samuda argues that the situation calls for the reassurance to direct partners, reminding them of the importance of not only the Commonwealth Games, but also of the value of sports to sportsmen and sportswomen.

“As a member of the Federation, we now have to reassure our constituency and stakeholders of the value of the games to sport and most importantly, to the character of the lives and livelihood of our sportsmen and women for whom we exist.”

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