Bye bye Commonwealth Games?
Sports minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday strongly suggested Durban’s chances of hosting 2022’s event, which features various sporting codes, had all but disappeared.
“I don’t want to raise your expectations and say everything looks good‚ it doesn’t,” he said according to various reports.
“We are unable to agree on the fundamentals.”
Despite the rather ambiguous use of the term “fundamentals”, it’s known that government and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) are bumping heads over money.
“There’s a possibility that the Commonwealth Games will be out of the window,” said Mbalula.
“We can’t find each other on the final figures.”
It’s estimated that Durban would have to cough up a massive R8.2 billion to host the events, an amount that would put further pressure on tight state coffers.
The wisdom of hosting such big events are also in the spotlight currently following reports of how Olympics-related infrastructure in Rio are already in a state of disrepair.
Hungary also withdrew Budapest’s bid to host the Olympic Games last week.
However, South Africa has not covered itself in glory in this saga.
Durban was actually awarded the right to host the event as early as September 2015.
Yet there seemed to be no rush to submit the relevant documentation and various deadlines were missed.
When the CGF eventually set a final deadline for 30 November 2016, South Africa only did so with a day to spare.
A final decision on the hosting rights is expected to be made next week.