Commonwealth Games chief visits over Durban 2022 doubts

President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Louise Martin, pictured in 2015, says "the CGF will continue to have an open dialogue" with South Africa "and remains committed to realising the shared ambitions of a future" Games in Africa

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president visited South Africa for talks with officials as government hinted that the country may not be able to host the 2022 games due to financial constraints.

Louise Martins "travelled to South Africa earlier this week for further high level meetings and we continue to make every effort to engage with the Durban 2022 delivery partners," a games spokesman said in a statement on Saturday.

South Africa successfully bid for the games after the Canadian city of Edmonton pulled out, but it has been unable to reach agreement with the CGF over paying for the tournament.

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday revealed that host city Durban may not be able to hold the event due to financial pressures.

"It does not look like we will find each other," said Mbalula. "We have given it our best shot, but we cannot live beyond our means."

The games spokesman said a review team appointed by the CGF "is in the final stages of evaluating the submissions received from South Africa to determine whether Durban's proposals for hosting the Games are consistent with their original Bid Commitments."

"A recommendation will be referred to the CGF Executive Board on 11 and 12 March."

Both the 1995 rugby World Cup and the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa are seen as milestones in the country's efforts to promote national unity since the apartheid era.

The Commonwealth Games in Durban, on the east coast, would be the first to be held in Africa.

The Games -- which were awarded to Durban in 2015 -- had been earmarked to start on July 18, the birthday of Nelson Mandela.

According to authorities, a budget of 6.4 billion rand ($492 million, 465 million euros) has already been set aside for the Games, in a country battling high unemployment and poor growth.