Games-Malaysia considers hosting 'downsized' Commonwealth Games

By Mandy Leong and Rozanna Latiff

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s Olympic Council on Monday proposed holding a "downsized" Commonwealth Games in 2026 as the Southeast Asian country considers replacing the original host, the Australian state of Victoria.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has offered Malaysia 100 million pounds ($127.33 million) in supporting funds if it decides to take over as host, after Victoria pulled out last year citing ballooning costs.

The offer has received a mixed response in Malaysia amid concerns over spending costs and lack of preparation time. The cabinet is expected to discuss the matter this week, Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh has said.

Victoria's withdrawal as host placed the future of the quadrennial multi-sport event in doubt and raised questions about the benefits and continued relevance of the Games.

Malaysia previously hosted the event in 1998.

Mohd Nazifuddin Najib, the secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), on Monday suggested several measures to reduce costs, such as using standard hotels and accommodation to house athletes and officials instead of building a dedicated Games village.

Malaysia could also redirect some of its budget for the Southeast Asian Games, which it is hosting in 2027, towards the Commonwealth event, he told reporters.

“We feel that this can be a downsized Games,” he said. “For example, it doesn’t have to be 15 sports, it can be 10 sports. And then we have a smaller opening and smaller closing (ceremonies).

“We can discuss all of this but it’s best for this decision to come from the government.”

(Reporting by Mandy Leong and Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Nick Macfie)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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