Birmingham "looks set to be the only bidder" for the 2022 Commonwealth Games because Kuala Lumpur is reportedly "not expected to receive the support of the Malaysian Government in time," according to Duncan Mackay of INSIDE THE GAMES. The deadline set by the Commonwealth Games Federation for cities to announce they are bidding is Sept. 30. The Malaysian Government, led by PM Najib Razak, would reportedly "rather consider a campaign for the 2026 Commonwealth Games." Kuala Lumpur was one of several cities that expressed an interest in replacing Durban after the South African city was stripped of the Games in March. Potential bidders, however, "have steadily faded away and only Birmingham now remains in," having made a firm commitment to stage the event. Kuala Lumpur would have been "serious contenders" to Birmingham, having staged the CWG in '98, an event "widely considered one of the best in history" (INSIDE THE GAMES, 9/12).
Events and Attractions
Arguably "the hottest ticket in Sydney this weekend" is for the Australian women's football team's "eagerly-anticipated friendly with Brazil in Penrith," according to Mike Hytner of the London GUARDIAN. Attendances for the opening week of the National Rugby League finals "were dismal in Sydney," but there have been "no problems selling tickets" to watch the Matildas play their South American rivals at Pepper Stadium. The allocation of 17,000 tickets "was snapped up two weeks in advance" of Saturday's afternoon kickoff. The sellout has created a clamor for tickets "rarely seen for women’s football in Australia, with disappointed fans who missed out desperately seeking to get a slice of the action" by searching out resale tickets at "vastly inflated prices." One Matildas follower who posted on a classified ad site was willing to pay A$100 ($80.15) for a single $20 ($16.03) ticket for the game in Penrith. Another was offering A$140 ($112.21) for four tickets. Mark Slocum, a teacher from Sydney, said that he knew the A$150 ($120.23) he offered for four tickets "was over the odds." He said, "But you're taking your daughter to a packed stadium to watch an international football match. Whatever happens it's going to be a bloody brilliant experience" (GUARDIAN, 9/12).
The R&A will "consider extending the Walker Cup from two days to three, to bring it in line with other major team trophy events." U.S. Walker Cup team captain Spider Miller has been "one of most vocal supporters of a change in format." The Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and Curtis Cup are all contested over three days, but so far the R&A has "remained resistant to arguments" of the U.S. Golf Association "that the oldest match of the four should follow suit." However, Miller's proposals are "gaining traction and the R&A's resolve is weakening" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/11).
The British Horseracing Authority has "bowed to popular opinion" and will introduce 48-hour declarations for all races at next year's Cheltenham Festival. The "overdue move will provide much-needed early clarity" for racing fans as well as bettors, bookmakers and the media with regards to running plans and the shape of "some of National Hunt racing's most iconic contests" (London DAILY MAIL, 9/12).
Next year's fixtures list has been released by Horse Racing Ireland and a total of 363 meetings on the '18 program "will be an all-time record" in the country. However, the number of meetings containing both flat and National Hunt races will be reduced from 28 to 19 (IRISH TIMES, 9/11).
For the first time in "more than 30 years," thousands of fans watched a "symbolic" floodlit evening football game in Mogadishu, Somalia. The game took place on Friday at the country's oldest stadium, which was renovated as part of FIFA's Win in Africa with Africa program, "under tight security but was regarded as a historic occasion given the recent civil war and the number of terrorist atrocities inflicted on the city in recent years" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/12).