In 1986, Edinburgh became the first city to host the Commonwealth games twice. However, the Games will be remembered mostly for the large political boycott that took place. The boycotts came about because of the Thatcher Government's attitude towards British sporting links with apartheid-era South Africa. In total, the Games were boycotted by 32 of the 59 Commonwealth nations.

A large number of the boycotting countries were African, Asian and Caribbean countries meaning that the Games were reduced to almost a whites-only affair.

The boycott caused further problems when it was revealed that due to the lack of participation and associated decline in anticipated broadcasting and sponsorship revenues, the Organising Committee was facing a serious financial black hole.

The controversial figure Robert Maxwell, the owner of the Daily Mirror,  stepped in to offer funding and took over as chairman. However, Maxwell only caused further problems. Despite promising to invest £2 million, the new chairman of the Games only gave £250,000. On a budget of £14 million the Games opened with a deficit of £3 million which eventually became £4.3 million

The 1986 Commonwealth Games were held between 24 July and 2 August 1986. There were a total of 27 teams represented with a total of 502 medals awarded.

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