Tasmania has launched an audacious bid to host or co-host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, but some have labelled the move pointless.
Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein has written to Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive Craig Phillips and formally requested the island state be considered as a host for the sporting event.
Tasmania recently hosted the fifth men’s Ashes cricket Test and was given two elimination AFL finals last season due to mainland COVID-19 restrictions.
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“Our government is committed to delivering more elite sporting content for Tasmanians to enjoy,” state Minister for Sport Jane Howlett said in a statement on Thursday.
“And, importantly, provide pathways for local sports men, women and children.
“We are confident that we can work collaboratively with Commonwealth Games Australia on the opportunities Tasmania presents as either a host or co-host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.”
The 2022 games will be held in Birmingham. The English city was originally scheduled to host the event in 2026 but it was brought forward when Durban in South Africa was stripped of hosting rights.
Ms Howlett said Tasmania has “clearly demonstrated” an ability to deliver elite sporting content.
The island state is hosting nine men’s Twenty20 World Cup matches later this year.
The Labor opposition, however, is not on board.
“This is a pointless plan with absolutely no ability to deliver, and any money spent on a bid would be money wasted,” MP Shane Broad said.
“Peter Gutwein, in writing to the Commonwealth Games CEO, has not even thought through the most basic details like where would we accommodate thousands of athletes and spectators?
“Where could he possibly hold an opening and closing ceremony of any size?”
Mr Gutwein has pushed hard in recent years for Tasmania’s inclusion in the AFL but concerns have been raised about the state’s smaller facilities.
Blundstone Arena in Hobart has a capacity of 19,500, while University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston in the state’s north can hold up to roughly 20,000 people.
© AAP 2022