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Durban and Edmonton to bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games

(Reuters) - The Canadian city of Edmonton and the South African city of Durban have both formally indicated they plan to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, officials said on Monday.

Prince Tunku Imran, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said both cities have until next March to formalize their bid proposals before the decision on the host site is made in September, 2015.

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

Edmonton has already hosted the Games once before, in 1978, while Canada also hosted the inaugural Games in 1930 (Hamilton) as well as 1954 (Vancouver) and 1994 (Victoria).

"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.

The Games, a multi-sports event held every four years featuring athletes from over 50 countries, have never been staged in Africa and Gideon Sam, President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, said it was time the continent was given its chance.

"These are exciting times for South African sport. 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," he said.

"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."

This year's Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland while the next edition, in 2018, will be staged at Australia's Gold Coast.

(Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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