A potential Adelaide bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games has moved closer with the South Australian Government announcing they will conduct a feasibility study.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) made a second trip to the city in December, reportedly endorsing its existing infrastructure and hosting capabilities as almost "Games-ready".
A paper on the benefits of hosting the event has been compiled by the Office of Recreation and Sport and sent to the South Australian Government.
South Australia's Sports Minister Corey Wingard told The Advertiser in Adelaide last month that the Government would continue to explore the possibility of a bid but there was a "mountain to climb" to be ready by 2026.
A feasibility study has now been commissioned.
"We have an ingrained sporting culture, easy access to high-class facilities and the most welcoming people in the nation," he said.
"But the State Liberal Government remains firm in our commitment to provide strong and responsible economic leadership for all South Australians.
"That is why a thorough assessment must be completed and the Marshall Government will only sign on as a candidate city if hosting the Games will provide an economic boost and create legacy projects which will benefit our state into the long-term future."
The launch of the study officially moves Adelaide from the dialogue phase to the feasibility phase under CGF guidelines.
"Commonwealth Games Australia wants to see the Games return to Australia, it's important for our athletes and our member sports," Ben Houston, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) President, said.
"As we have seen recently on the Gold Coast, hosting the Games can deliver great legacy benefits to communities.
"Adelaide has a very strong case and the Commonwealth Games Federation's requirements are for a feasibility study to be completed.
"In announcing their decision to commission that today South Australia has a head start.
"We will continue working with the states and cities interested in hosting the Games in Australia before any decision is made on who a preferred candidate and final bidder will be."
Craig Phillips, chief executive of CGA, has claimed that they were committed to finding a candidate to follow Birmingham 2022 and take the event back to Australia again.
Perth and Sydney have also both expressed an interest in bidding for the Games.
Perth staged them in 1962 and Sydney in 1938.
Adelaide is the only mainland state capital city in Australia yet to host a Commonwealth Games.
The city bid for the 1998 Commonwealth Games but was beaten 40 votes to 25 by Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
It launched a bid for the 2018 event but withdrew when Kevin Foley, then the treasurer in the South Australian Government, labelled the Games "a B-grade event".
The Games were eventually awarded to the Gold Coast in Queensland.
It had originally been planned by the CGF to award the 2026 Commonwealth Games this September but a final decision may now not be made until next year.
"We've engaged with a number of cities as part of the informal dialogue phase for the bid process for the 2026 and 2030 Games," said David Grevemberg, CGF chief executive.
"We believe Adelaide has very strong potential as a future Commonwealth Games host partner and we welcome today's announcement that the State Government will commission a feasibility study to explore Games hosting benefits."
It has been suggested that the CGF audit in December found that Adelaide could host the Games with minimum infrastructure investment by using facilities already built.
These include the Adelaide Oval, mainly used for cricket and Australian rules, to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and athletics.
The Adelaide Convention Centre would be home for a number of sports, including boxing, gymnastics, table tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.
Swimming could be staged by installing a drop-in pool at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
The city already has the Adelaide Super-Dome, a major indoor track cycling venue.
Bowden, an inner northern suburb of Adelaide, has been earmarked as a potential site for the Athletes' Village.