April 30 - Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Mike Hooper claims he is delighted with the calibre of Durban and Edmonton's bids for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and looks forward to seeing which is successful out of "two great cities".
Hooper was speaking to insidethegames following an Orientation Briefing which marked the first step in an 18-month process since the cities formally expressed their interest on March 31.
Topics under discussion ranged from more "mundane" issues such as working with partners, marketing and the host city contract, as well as more precise details over what makes a successful bid.
Hooper stressed that the idea of the event was a two-way interaction between the CGF and each city with the aim of best preparing them for the later stages of the contest.
He claimed the most important element for each to demonstrate is ensuring whatever promises they make are kept, before adding that the two are "great" contenders that he is confident will fulfil every obligation.
Representatives had the opportunity to learn first-hand about preparing for a Games from Mark Peters, chief executive of Gold Coast 2018, while also present was a key figure involved in Glasgow 2014 in the director of special projects at Culture and Sport Glasgow, Ian Hooper.
The bids announced by the two cities on the day of the deadline for submissions of interest will have come as a welcome relief to the CGF, as until that point no cities had stepped forward to host the Games.
London and Hambantota in Sri Lanka were among other cities thought to be considering bids, although both ultimately decided against an attempt.
But Hooper denied the CGF had been concerned over the lack of interest as he claimed he was confident the bids of Edmonton and Durban would always be launched.
He then cited the interest he had already learned of concerning possible contenders for the events in 2026 and 2030 as evidence of wider enthusiasm for hosting the Commonwealth Games.
Following the unsuccessful attempt by Nigerian city Abuja, which was beaten by Glasgow in the race for the 2014 Games, Durban is bidding to be the first ever African host.
Edmonton, meanwhile, has hosted the Commonwealth Games once before, in 1978, with Canada having played host on four previous occasions, twice in its current format as the Commonwealth Games.
Both cities now have full access to the CGF knowledge centre of more than 25,000 documents outlining details of the Games, before each will participate in an Observer Programme during Glasgow 2014 from July 23 to August 3.
The next step after that will take place alongside the Coordination Commission visit to 2018 host Gold Coast from October 6 to 16, where there will be a 2022 Candidate City seminar.
Both cities will also send representatives to a Glasgow 2014 debrief session during the same period.
Official bids are due to be lodged with the CGF by March 2, 2015, after which Evaluation Commission visits will be paid to both Durban and Edmonton in April before Feasibility Reports are presented in July.
The host city is due to be elected by the CGF membership at the General Assembly in Auckland on September 2, 2015.
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