THE bidding process for the 2022 Commonwealth Games has been left with just one applicant after the Canadian city of Edmonton withdrew its bid for financial reasons.

Canadian officials said the city could not move forward with the hosting the event when cuts are being made in other areas such as education and health.

The decision leaves Durban as the only city vying to host the sporting event in a move which will see the Games held in Africa for the first time.

David Grevemberg, Chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation and the man behind Glasgow 2014, said he was "disappointed" to hear of Edmonton's withdrawal.

He added: "The Edmonton bid team, in collaboration with their partners, has worked hard to lay the foundations of a great bid and we will work closely with them as they focus all efforts on bringing the Commonwealth Games back to Canada - where the Commonwealth Games first began - in 2026.

"We now look forward enthusiastically to working with the Durban 2022 Bid team and their partners through the evaluation process so, together as a Commonwealth sporting movement, we can realise the ambitions of delivering Africa's first Commonwealth Games.

"I'm confident that there will be a great 2022 Commonwealth Games to follow on from the fantastic experience of Glasgow and the dynamic Games currently shaping up in the Gold Coast for 2018.

"We will continue to engage with cities, communities and citizens to ensure the 2022 Commonwealth Games can create a world-class sporting stage for elite athletes of the Commonwealth as well as make a positive and lasting contribution to the legacy ambitions of a proud African Commonwealth city and its people."

According to officials, the Alberta government has seen its fiscal program drop to a $7 billion deficit from a $500 million surplus due to oil prices since the city announced its intention to bid last year.

The bid committee said this was having a significant impact on the economy, affecting most sectors throughout the province.

Bid Chairman Reg Milley said: "We strongly believe in the values of the Commonwealth Games and all that they stand for. Which is why this has not been an easy decision for us, as our team has been working tirelessly these last months to put together an extraordinary bid.

"But we believe that at this time it would not be right to move forward with our bid when cuts are being made in our communities to programmes like in education and health."

The city has said it will now focus on a bid for the 2026 Games.

This is not the first time there has only been one bidder for the Games - Manchester was the only bidder for the 2002 event which is widely regarded as one of the most successful.

The Durban bid will still have to complete the full application process, with formal lodgings being made on March 2 before the bid is officially evaluated.