Richmond Football Club president Peggy O’Neal will head up the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.
- Peggy O’Neal became the AFL’s first female club president when she took the reins at Richmond in 2013
- Ms O’Neal has pledged to ensure the Games reflect Victoria’s diversity
- Belinda Duarte and Lisa Gray have been appointed as board directors
The Tigers trailblazer has been appointed as chairperson of the 2026 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.
Ms O’Neal became the AFL’s first female club president in 2013 and the Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery, Jacinta Allan, said she would bring a wealth of knowledge from the corporate and public sectors to the games.
“I love sport and what it means for communities across Victoria,” Ms O’Neal said.
“I am delighted to be part of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games and to work with the board, to ensure that the diverse voices in our state are heard as we make decisions throughout the delivery of the games.”
Commonwealth Games Legacy Minister Shaun Leane said he was looking forward to Ms O’Neal bringing her leadership to the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.
“Peggy has made a significant contribution to the Victorian community through gender equality and developing female leaders in sport,” he said.
Organising Committee CEO Jeroen Weimar has joined in welcoming Ms O’Neal’s appointment.
“I am looking forward to working with Peggy and the board to deliver a fantastic Commonwealth Games across regional Victoria and we will be taking the next steps in the coming months to finalise the sporting program, village and venue locations.”
The regional event will be held across Victoria, with Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland each to have their own athletes villages and sports programs but the opening ceremony will take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
A number of directors have also been appointed to the games board, including Belinda Duarte — an accomplished leader in elite sport, social equity and First Nations communities — and business executive Lisa Gray.
Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games Australia representatives Dame Louise Martin, Katie Sadleir, Ben Houston and Craig Phillips will also join the Victorian games board.
“The board members will give a depth of experience to the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games and provide invaluable leadership to deliver this global event to be hosted across regional Victoria,” Ms Allan said.
The state government has said the 2026 Commonwealth Games would contribute more than $3 billion to Victoria’s economy, creating the equivalent of more than 600 full-time jobs before the Games, 3,900 jobs during the Games and a further 3,000 beyond the Closing Ceremony.