Since 1930, the Commonwealth Games has been championing all of the above and has grown into an inspirational event – with the 2022 Games in Birmingham hosting 4,600 athletes from 72 nations and broadcast live to 134 countries.

We now head into a new era with an exciting new plan. 

Commonwealth Sport is more than a Games every four years though, and the new Strategic Plan looks to enhance and ensure the continuing success and growth across the Commonwealth Sports Movement.

“This new strategy builds on Transformation 2022 and all the exciting things that happened in that era, but now it is time to do something a bit different,” explained Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Katie Sadleir.

“Put quite simply, our vision is ‘Our Commonwealth, united through sport’. 

“We are an organisation that brings people together using sport as a mechanism to do that,” added Sadleir.

The plan focusses on six goals:

  • Deliver inclusive, impactful and sustainable Games

  • Create distinctive, attractive, relevant sports programmes 

  • Lead, support and develop thriving member CGAs 

  • Empower our athletes to be champions on and off the field 

  • Reach and engage more fans across the Commonwealth including diverse, young fans 

  • Advocate for and support values and causes we believe in

Strategic plans are all well and good presented in a shiny brochure with tables, graphs and projected forecasts.

However, what really excites Sadleir is the beating heart of this new strategy – the people involved.

Athletes, stakeholders, Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) and International Federations (IFs) have all been consulted – and more importantly – listened to in the process.

“In order to create this strategy, we have consulted extensively and spent the last ten months listening to our members, athletes, past and future hosts and strategic partners about the Movement, what has been achieved to date and ambitions for the future,” explained Sadleir.

“Athletes are central to what we do.  We have a very vibrant Athletes Advisory Commission that has led the way in terms of Athlete Advocacy. We want to ensure that athletes are central to decisions right across the Commonwealth, so all CGAs have strong athlete Committees, linked to the CGF Athletes Commission.”

Athletes are central to what we do

Like a high performing athlete, the new strategy will also be tested and assessed to make sure we are on track to achieve our goals. 

“We've spent quite a bit of time looking through each of the goals and saying, where are we really at and what do we want to see that's different?” explained Sadleir.

“And we will measure those milestones on a regular basis through the ten-year period.”

A major part of the plan is to share opportunities across the Commonwealth, to ensure all regions have the capability to deliver outstanding programmes and events, creating impact and legacy.

“We also want to make sure we have a strong pipeline, making hosting really attractive in a variety of formats.”

The Commonwealth Games Federation looks to guide and facilitate rather than to rule. From the outside it can look like an impossible job navigating the competing priorities of the different sports as well as each Nation’s own values and laws.

Opposing ideas are not a hindrance though. In fact, the new strategy celebrates these ‘powerful contradictions’ as they help shape the identity of Commonwealth Sport.

Focus will also be on the fans and broadening the appeal of the Games. Teamwork and collaboration are once again crucial to this as the CGF, members, athletes and sporting bodies can all play a part in championing their sports and stars.

“We know there are strong leaders amongst our Commonwealth athletes and we want to support them,” added Sadleir.

“We will work with them to make sure they have the ability to advocate for things that are really important to them.

“We want to work closely with them as ambassadors for our Sports Movement helping to build fan engagement; clearly, what we want is more sustainable and diverse fans.

“Growing the fanbase and growing the people that are constantly providing us with stories, is a primary goal. Not just at a global Commonwealth level, but also with our members, so that when their websites are visited, you see amazing stories about what's happening in their region.”

The Birmingham Games took a strong stance on some important social issues and the new Strategic Plan will look to build on that.

From the GAPS and EqUIP development programmes to the commitment to women both on the field and in leadership positions; these important objectives will be developed through implementation plans. The stakeholders will be key to the success of these priorities and Sadleir is confident that the collaboration with International Federations and CGAs will bear fruit.

“Sport has the ability to influence social change - we are a small organisation with a big heart but we rely on our stakeholders to work with us on these implementation plans.

“We will work with our members to establish the things that are really important to them and help advocate for them.”

We are a small organisation with a big heart

Commonwealth Sport is immensely proud of its history and traditions, but also mindful of the modern issues that the world is facing and is determined to work with athletes and members on advocacy; feeling strongly about the issues that impact sport and society.

“In terms of the sports programme, alongside our core sports we will see a changing Games, working with International Federations to bring on some of their new formats, ensuring future Games are distinctive and dynamic.

“Our board, our staff and our stakeholders are all absolutely committed to use sport as a mechanism to connect people and communities across the Commonwealth.  

“It is a really exciting ten years ahead.”