Commonwealth Games: Malaysians Unite After Decision Not To Host

Finally a sensible decision by the current government all in the right direction, social media and facebook was awash with joy on the decision, not to host the Commonwealth Games. It actually felt like we actually won a sporting competition, should we have a national holiday? That was a joke, but the fact the government was even considering for a go ahead on this was a shocker.

The comments on facebook in one of the online facebook page of a news portal said it all regarding Malaysia’s decision not to host the Commonwealth Games.

Kenneth Ho: “Excellent decision”, Lai Chin Wah said: “Good decision”. Ahmad Wiraputra Selamat went on to say Alhamdulillah. I know its not easy to choose between budget constraints and glories we might get, but that’s the best we can do right now. Focus on people infrastructure. We will host when we are back stronger, Insya Allah”.

Ng Ming Lee also said, “Perhaps it’s a great choice at this moment”, Mazlan Mohamed even said, “Yehh”. It was hard to find anyone disagreeing, in fact when I saw it I did not find anyone who was against the decision not to host. However certain quarters like the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF) were not happy with the decision, as they have contributed gold and silver medals in the Commonwealth competition before.

Disappointed

MWF president Datuk Ayub Rahmat is disappointed with the government’s decision to reject the offer to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. The Malaysian government felt that the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) offer of £100 million (RM603 million) was insufficient to cover the costs of hosting the event.

The economic impact of hosting the event also cannot be realised in the nearest time. The cost was just too much and with the 1998 Commonwealth Games Village in Bukit Jalil sold off as apartments, where are we going to house the athletes for such a mamooth event? This is a different ball game compared to the SEA Games which Malaysia hosted in 2017 and are scheduled to host in 2027 with only 10 countries the logistics and housing of athletes can be scattered around and let us be honest, the SEA games can get away with not having ‘A’ class facilities compared to Commonwealth or Asian Games.

So what now for Malaysia? Perhaps the sports ministry should now look at developing grassroots sports, because the question arises, how much was the Malaysian government willing to spend or is deemed affordable if Malaysia were to host it? Could some of the money now be pooled into some sports federations or associations?

After all FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) were given RM5 million ringgit for finishing last in the Asian Cup group rounds when they lost two and drew one and went down the ranking. Granted the games budget would mean various ministries and the federal government would have to cough up for the budget of the games, but still this question should be asked. Perhaps MWF should ask this question since they are not happy with the decision of not hosting the games.

So who would be willing to host the games? Canada are Co-Hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and they would not want to host it for sure, Australia have already pulled out, I can see only the United Kingdom taking it back like egg on their face, with Birmingham hosting it 2022 and Glasgow in 2014 and Manchester in 2002, this could be an overkill.

From British Empire Games To Commonwealth Games

It says a lot about the games, is it running out of fashion? After all the games were originally known as the British Empire Games and a rebranding was done to call it the Commonwealth Games.

Could India be handed the games? India hosted the games in 2010, they hosted the Asian games on two occasions, but the 2010 Commonwealth Games cost India $7.5 billion, so they could easily say no thanks if awarded.

The next could be South Africa, but with their economy not in a healthy situation and the after effects of the FIFA World Cup 2010 plaguing them cost-wise, they would definitely not even be offered. Could this be the beginning of the end for the games?

Perhaps a sport could revive the games, football, which is not in the Commonwelath Games could be added in to bring in more sponsors and finance, this would go against the FIFA calendar, but perhaps the old Olympics football competition rules of not allowing players who played in the World Cup play in the Olympics be allowed for the Commonwealth Games.

With many of the countries not from Europe, football could be added into the calendar and the teams could be picked from FIFA rankings, perhaps just 16 teams and the host included. This, however, only adds to the logistics problem, but football could bring in more bang for the buck, it does not answer all the questions, but for now Malaysia breathes a sigh of relief, the Russian roulette of who is going to host will continue … let the games begin … again! – NMH

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