Athletics and swimming will be the only compulsory sports in the Commonwealth Games from the 2026 edition as part of a "strategic roadmap" which will allow host cities greater freedom to include disciplines of their choice from a core list which also features T20 cricket and 3x3 basketball.
The roadmap was approved at the Commonwealth Games Federation's General Assembly, which was held virtually.
"...to increase hosting benefits and make the Games even more cost effective, whilst engaging new audiences, the Commonwealth Sport 2026-2030 Strategic Roadmap invites future hosts to explore innovative concepts, including co-hosting and mass participation events," read a statement from CGF.
"As part of an ongoing consultation with International Federations, there are ambitions for a revised Sport Programme to provide hosts with more flexibility to choose from a wider list of core sports," it added.
The new additions to the core disciplines, that have previously been listed as optional sports, are T20 Cricket, Beach Volleyball and 3x3 Basketball. Other disciplines in the 15-strong core list include badminton, shooting, table tennis, wrestling (freestyle) and hockey among others.
"This will allow hosts the ability to propose entirely new sports, relevant to their nation or culture, to enhance cultural showcasing and community engagement," the CGF stated.
The CGF recommended that approximately 15 sports feature at the Games. The event is still looking for a 2026 host, while the 2022 edition is set for Birmingham. While shooting has been dropped from the Birmingham Games, T20 cricket (women) has been added.
"There will be flexibility with the maximum number of sports, with athletics and swimming proposed as the two compulsory sports," it said. "This is due to their historical place on the programme since 1930 and based on universality, participation, broadcasting, spectator interest, Para inclusion and gender balance."
The CGF said it will continue to work with future hosts on the minimum and maximum cap on athlete numbers, helping ensure that the size, scale and cost of the multi-sport event is continually "optimised and carefully managed".
Coupled with a strong proposition for prospective hosts, the roadmap will allow a more sustainable long-term agenda, with increased awareness of how sport and culture can positively impact communities.
Among other approved recommendations, the roadmap has outlined that an integrated para-sport programme must remain a "key, focal part of the Games."
"Future potential hosts would be encouraged to consider alternative Athlete Village solutions, rather than being required to accommodate athletes in a new build environment or on a single site," the CGF said.
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said the event needs to innovate.
"Our Games need to adapt, evolve and modernise to ensure we continue to maintain our relevance and prestige across the Commonwealth," she said. "Our next step is to work closely with our International Federation partners to ensure they can contribute to the vision and direction of the Roadmap in order to underpin the future of the Games," she added.