As Commonwealth Games bosses prepare to receive a recommendation on whether or not Durban will host the 2022 event‚ Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has admitted that it “doesn’t look good”.
The showpiece was awarded to the costal city in September 2015‚ but the host nation missed key deadlines and failed to submit documentation on time.
A final cut-off date of November 30 last year for the final submission of all outstanding issues was set by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) – a deadline which was met by South Africa with a day to spare.
But now‚ Mbalula had admitted that the city is facing an uphill battle to host the Games amid a fight over funding. It now appears increasingly likely that Durban will lose the rights to host the multi-sport event.
Speaking at a Cape Town press conference on Tuesday‚ Mbalula said: “I don’t want to raise your expectations and say everything looks good‚ it doesn’t. We are unable to agree on the fundamentals.”
Those fundamentals are‚ he said‚ largely cash-related.
The CGF is due to meet in the UK next weekend‚ where a final decision will be made.
Mbalula said there was a “possibility that the Commonwealth Games will be out of the window”. He said a team had gone to London to speak to the federation‚ but that “we can’t find each other on the final figures” – with operational costs the main sticking point.
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) reportedly spent nearly R120 million on its bid for the 2022 Games. The total costs are an estimated R8.2 billion‚ and a projected GDP benefit of about R11 billion
Sascoc chairman Tubby Reddy would not provide any details on the latest developments.
“The only thing I know is that we‚ together with government‚ needed to submit some outstanding documents by November 30‚ which we did‚ and that the CGF is due to give a decision on the 10th or 11th of March‚” he said.
Reddy confirmed that Sascoc president Gideon Sam would be at the meeting.
Speaking on Saturday‚ before Mbalula’s comments‚ a CGF spokesperson said: “A review team appointed by the CGF is in the final stages of evaluating the submissions received from South Africa to determine whether Durban’s proposals for hosting the Games are consistent with their original Bid Commitments.
“A final recommendation will be referred to the CGF Executive Board once the review team has completed its deliberations. Given the variety and significance of the outstanding matters under consideration‚ it is anticipated that the review process will not be completed‚ and a recommendation made to the CGF Executive Board‚ before the end of February.”
– TMG Digital/The Times