Liverpool’s hopes of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games have been boosted with Durban bowing out over financial issues.
The South African city were all set to stage the event after being awarded the Games in 2015 as the only hosts to make a confirmed bid.
But amid difficulties over funding Durban have now officially stepped down leaving the way clear for another option with Liverpool a prime candidate to step in.
"This is a huge disappointment for us and for the whole African continent," Commonwealth Games Federation vice-president Gideon Sam said. "But without the necessary government guarantees, we couldn't move on.
"Everybody was very excited to see the Commonwealth Games staged in Durban, which was very well equipped to host the event, but once the economics started to play a role, it became difficult.
"We had hoped to make this a Games for all of Africa, and so this is a very sad day for the whole continent."
A Liverpool City Council spokesperson said previously: "Liverpool is interested in hosting the games in 2022.
"We had heard rumours that Durban might be unable to deliver the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and have already indicated to the government that we are very willing to host them instead."
Only last month sports minister Fikile Mbalula appeared to pre-empt the withdrawal revealing that the government had failed to come to an agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation over bankrolling the event.
"It does not look like we will find each other,” he said.
"We have given it our best shot, but we cannot live beyond our means."
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