MSPs told Scotland can afford to host 2026 Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games could return to Scotland
The Commonwealth Games could return to Scotland -Credit:Getty Images

Scotland could host the Commonwealth Games in 2026 without cash from the public purse being used to pay for the event, MSPs have been told.

As event organisers hunt for a new host after the Australian state of Victoria pulled out amid rising costs, Health Secretary Neil Gray said cash from the Commonwealth Games Federation, plus “commercial income” from the event, could cover costs.

The federation is due to announce its “favoured proposed host” for the contest this month, Mr Gray said.

The Scottish Government has already been in talks with Commonwealth Games Scotland and Glasgow City Council about the event returning to the city which hosted it in 2014.

Asked in Holyrood if Glasgow would “potentially” be hosting the 2026 competition, Mr Gray said the Commonwealth Games are “a hugely important event to Scotland and Scottish athletes”.

Adding that the federation is looking to “reset and reframe the Games”, he added: “Commonwealth Games Scotland have confirmed they are looking at a potential hosting solution in Glasgow, if an alternative host cannot be found.”

SNP backbencher John Mason asked if there would be “any public money going into this at all”.

Mr Gray told him the model being put forward by Commonwealth Games Scotland “proposes a significantly reduced budget, in the region of £135 million with funding drawn, £100 million of investment from the Commonwealth Games Federation plus commercial income, and not from the public purse”.

He added that if Scotland is seen to be the “only viable option” for hosting the Games, “additional information and assurances” would be sought before the Government supports the idea.

With the city having hosted a “phenomenal games” in 2014, he added that the “infrastructure already in place puts Glasgow in a good position”.

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