The Ontario Government has set up a working group to assess potential issues of hosting the Games ©Getty Images

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) are continuing discussions with Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka over potential bids for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

An update was provided to members at a virtual CGF General Assembly today by David Leather, chief executive of CGF Partnerships.

Hamilton 2026 had been the frontrunner earlier this year, with the Bid Committee and Commonwealth Sport Canada "working exclusively" with the CGF on staging the Games in 2026, but failed to secure Government support.

The Ontario Government said it would only back a bid to stage in the Games in 2027 or later, citing its focus on the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which Canada will co-host with Mexico and the United States.

Toronto, the biggest city in Ontario, is poised to stage World Cup matches.

Leather said the Ontario Government has informed the CGF it is setting up a cross-departmental working group to consider the Governmental issues and possible implications for hosting the Games.

Part of consideration will be on the impact of potentially hosting matches at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The CGF is expected to continue dialogue with the Ontario Government.

An Adelaide bid for the 2026 Games was firmly ruled out by the South Australian Government last month.

The CGF and Commonwealth Games Australia are claimed to be working on developing a hosting proposition for an alternative Australian state, which would include evaluation of the benefits and costs of holding the Games.

Sri Lanka emerged as a contender earlier this month, with its National Olympic Committee saying it had sought Government guidance about expenditure.

Sri Lankan city Hambantota bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but lost to Gold Coast in Australia by 43 votes to 27.

The CGF confirmed Sri Lanka's interest in bidding for the 2026 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
The CGF confirmed Sri Lanka's interest in bidding for the 2026 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

It is unclear whether this potential Sri Lankan bid would focus on Hambantota or another part of the country, potentially its capital Colombo.

Leather said the CGF had shared information with the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka over the potential budget and sport programme to help the development of their proposals.

A fourth Commonwealth Games Association reportedly expressed an interest today in hosting the Games, but the nation of the member was not revealed.

The CGF said their immediate focus was on selecting a host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with the aim of bringing the process to a conclusion as soon as possible next year.

Interest has been received from potential hosts for the 2030 Commonwealth Games and beyond, it was claimed.

The next Commonwealth Games is scheduled to take place in Birmingham in 2022.

An update was provided to CGAs today on progress towards the Games, which is set to take place from July 28 to August 8.

Organisers admitted they had been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, but stressed the Games remained “on time and on budget”.