Dear Athletes, Fans and Colleagues across the Commonwealth and beyond,
On behalf of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and entire Commonwealth Sport Movement, we wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year. As we begin another year, we would like to take this opportunity to speak of our excitement for the twelve months that lie ahead.
It is important to acknowledge that 2017 was a challenging year for the Commonwealth Sports Movement, as in March we had to make the very difficult, but necessary, decision to explore alternative options for the hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, after Durban, South Africa was unable to honour its original bid commitments. This is not a decision any international governing body wants to make, particularly as we had and have such strong ambitions to bring the Games to African soil for the very first time. However, the expressions of interest we received to host the 2022 Games from 11 cities across the Commonwealth reinforced the current relevance and resonance of our Movement. Shortly before Christmas, we were delighted to announce the Executive Board’s decision to select the city of Birmingham, England as our 2022 Commonwealth Games Host City Partner. With its rich cultural diversity, youthful dynamism and ambitious spirit, Birmingham is truly a great Commonwealth city, and therefore will be a very fitting location to host the XXII edition of the Games.
As we look ahead, with the XXI Commonwealth Games taking place in Gold Coast, Australia in just over twelve weeks’ time, preparations for Birmingham 2022 now underway, Commonwealth Day (Monday, 12 March) fast approaching as well as the hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) by the United Kingdom in London the week immediately following our Games, this year looks to be hugely important in the Federation’s 88-year history. Indeed, for the whole of the Commonwealth and its Sport Movement, 2018 is very much the Commonwealth’s Year.
With the power to positively impact societies through sport, the Commonwealth has never been more relevant than it is today. Take the work we have all done as the international sport leader in respecting, protecting and promoting human rights through our UNICEF partnership– which to date has positively impacted the lives of 11.6 million children Commonwealth-wide; or how we are leading the way in advocating reconciliation initiatives with indigenous people. We are emerging as the true global sport leader for gender equality issues, by openly addressing the imbalances existing in our sport Movement for female participation and representation. Along with the Gold Coast Organising Committee (GOLDOC), it is our collective mission to make Gold Coast 2018 one of the most gender-equal multi-sports event in history by: promoting greater gender parity of technical officials; ensuring gender parity in the number of medal events, so that for the first time men and women will compete for an equal number of medals; and by implementing the CGF’s Women’s Coaching Internship Programme, which will grow the capacity of female coaches across the Commonwealth. In all that we do, our Movement represents sport with a social conscience.
Last year, the CGF incorporated three entities. In addition to becoming a UK limited company, both the Commonwealth Sport Foundation (CSF) and CGF Partnerships (CGFP) have been established. Once fully functioning in 2018/2019, the Foundation will fund programmes and projects that contribute to the sustainable development of sport throughout the Commonwealth. CGFP is the pioneering joint venture established with Lagardère Sports last July, to deliver the CGF’s new Games delivery model and Games commercial programmes. CGFP has commenced its work in earnest, as the preparations for Birmingham 2022 have begun.
Throughout the Commonwealth and the wider world, we can all eagerly look forward to Gold Coast 2018 beginning in just 86 days’ time. We have every confidence that Gold Coast 2018 will welcome athletes and fans alike with open arms, when the Games officially open on 4 April.
We look forward to our work with many of you over the coming year, as we continue to demonstrate to our friends across the world the strong relevance, passion and spirit of our Commonwealth Sport Movement.
Louise Martin CBE