By Paul Osborne

South Africa and Canada are considering bids for the 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty ImagesMarch 31 - The Canadian city of Edmonton and the South African city of Durban have formally expressed their intent to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Prince Tunku Imran revealed today.

The CGF will now work together with both Commonwealth Games Canada and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) as they look to develop their formal bids by the March 2015 deadline.

"This is an exciting development for the Games movement, one that reinforces the Games' position on the world's sporting stage," Imran said.

"The future outlook for the Commonwealth Games is extremely positive.

"Last week we saw the final visit of the Federation's Coordination Commission to Glasgow in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and it highlighted the excellent progress being made there.

"Glasgow will be followed by a great Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 and now we have the prospect of these being followed by what I'm sure will be an outstanding Games in either Canada or South Africa in 2022."

Following the formal bid deadline, final consideration will be made by CGF members at a General Assembly in Auckland, New Zealand on September 2, 2015.

There had been concern previously that no city would come forward to bid for the Games, with no expressions of interest being proposed before today.

Gideon Sam, the President of SASCOC, had hinted at a potential South African bid but it was not until the nation received the support of its Government last week that it moved forward with the plans to officially declare its intent to bid.

"These are exciting times for South African sport," Sam explained.

"Over the years we have shown our ability to stage the biggest sporting events, with Rugby and Cricket World Cups being an example, plus of course the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"We've done exhaustive background work and are now of the opinion the country is ready for a major multi-code sports event and we are proud to announce our intention to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

"It's a huge step forward in our history - and that of the African continent."

Edmonton hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games, one of four occasions that the event has been held in Canada ©Getty ImagesEdmonton hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games, one of four occasions that the event has been held in Canada ©Getty Images

Edmonton has hosted the Commonwealth Games once before, in 1978, with Canada having played host to the Games on four previous occasions - twice in its current format as the Commonwealth Games.

"Canada is the birthplace of the Commonwealth Games, with the British Empire Games held in Hamilton in 1930," said Andrew Pipe, President of Commonwealth Games Canada.

"We welcome the opportunity to bring the Commonwealth's best summer athletes back to Canada in 2022.

"Congratulations to Edmonton for this exciting initiative; we look forward to working with the city on the bid's next steps."

An official statement by the City of Edmonton said discussions will continue with the Province of Alberta and other stakeholders, including national and provincial sporting organisations.

Don Iveson, Edmonton's Mayor, added: "Our city's successful history as a great event host city started with the 1978 Commonwealth Games.

"Hosting the Games in 2022 will demonstrate to the world how much Edmonton has evolved and reflect the Commonwealth Games Federation's confidence in our city."

David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, also welcomed the expressions of interest today and said his Organising Committee "would be delighted to share our journey and our experiences with prospective host cities to help inform the planning of their bids as they develop".

Following London 2012, there had been speculation that London would launch a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, however, a spokesperson from Commonwealth Games England today said that no English city had come forward to express an interest in the event.

The Sri Lankan town of Hambantota, which bid unsuccessfully to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, had been another city rumoured to be considering a bid, but Hemasiri Fernando, chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka, confirmed to insidethegames that it had decided against another bid.

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