Durban and the Forfeiture of the 2022 Commonwealth Games - A Bid Won and Lost by Default

Authors: Brij Maharaj*, School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Topics: Urban Geography, Africa, Political Geography
Keywords: Mega sport events, Commonwealth Games 2022, Durban, South Africa
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Washington 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Durban has attempted to market itself as a sporting mecca in the post-apartheid democratic era, using a neoliberal, entrepreneurial approach to promote the city and attract international investment. This focus Durban’s Commonwealth Games 2022 (CWG2022) bid is a unique study of an event that was ‘won’ by default because the other competitors withdrew from the race. However, there appeared to be very little information about the costs of hosting CWG2022 in Durban. The initial he cost of hosting CWG2022 was estimated R3.4bn, and six months later it doubled to R6.4bn. There was clearly no understanding about why far wealthier cities like Edmonton withdrew their bid – taking cognisance of public sentiment and economic realities. The bid was flawed from the beginning, especially as the central government support lacked enthusiasm. Durban was looking for global glory, perhaps an escapist fantasy from its inability to address serious social and economic problems. Clearly, lessons from the FIFA 2010 experience were not being heeded. This paper will focus on Durban’s sporting ambitions; reasons for making the CWG2022 bid and the promises made; the deviations from the bid and attempts compromises with the Commonwealth Games Federation; and the fallout after the default.

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