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Durban decision underlines Host City obligations

The importance of Mega Sporting Event host cities meeting their obligations has been underlined after Durban were stripped of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

In a move which is sure to have ramifications for other major events around the world, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive David Grevemberg announced the city could not meet the bid criteria set by his organisation, and the search for a new host city had already begun.

Durban were awarded the Games in September 2015, although Grevemberg revealed that the government of South Africa had never signed the decision off.

 

Detailed review

“We have a host city contract,” said Grevemberg. “It was signed by all parties on the day except for the South African government.

“We have engaged with the government to really try to work with their current circumstances but also uphold the commitments that were outlined in their bid. They were unable to do that at this time and we have had to look after the citizens and communities that our events serve.”

A statement released to the Inside the Games website revealed that a “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.”

Last month, South Africa’s sports minister Fikile Mbalula indicated Durban may not be able to host the 2022 event because of financial constraints. He said: “We gave it our best shot but we can’t go beyond. If the country says we don’t have this money, we can’t.”

The UK cities of Liverpool and Birmingham have expressed an interest in hosting the 2022 Games, with an announcement expected by the end of the year.

New requirements

Meeting requirements around major sporting events (MSE) is currently a burning issue. Indeed, the decision by the Commonwealth Games Federation follows just over a week after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced it had included a new requirement with explicit references to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) in its Host City Contract for the 2024 Olympic Games.

This follows lobbying by, and consultation with the Sport and Rights Alliance, of which Terre des Hommes is a member.

It remains to be seen if or how the guidelines will be implemented, or indeed what action will be taken if a host city fails to comply with them.

Los Angeles or Paris will be announced as hosts of the 2024 Olympic Games in September, after Rome, Hamburg and Budapest pulled out of the running. There has also been controversy in Japan about the rising costs which Tokyo is facing for the 2020 Games.

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