Birmingham’s pursuit of the 2022 Commonwealth Games has taken a major step forward after it was chosen over Liverpool to be England’s preferred host city.
While the government must now decide whether to submit a formal bid to the Games’ Federation, taking into account value for money and the potential for a lasting sporting and economic legacy, the decision represents a major feather in Birmingham’s cap and further underlines its ongoing renaissance and credentials as a world-class city.
The proposal to create the UK’s largest permanent athletics stadium alongside four indoor arenas was central to Birmingham’s bid. It was also considered to offer strong risk management credentials as well as particularly high quality venue infrastructure and plans for a longer-term sporting legacy.
Under the bid, the city’s famous Alexander Stadium, already the home of UK Athletics will be expanded from its current capacity of 13,000 to 20,000, with 25,000 additional seats for the Games, making it the largest, permanent athletics track in the country. A selection of the city’s other well-known facilities such as the NEC, Symphony Hall and Villa Park are also lined up to be venues.
As and when a formal bid is submitted by the Government, Birmingham will go up against a handful of other candidates to claim the ultimate hosting prize, including the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur and Victoria in western Canada. The event was originally handed to Durban but the city was subsequently stripped of hosting rights following financial concerns.
Commenting on the news, Andy Foote, director at Seven Capital, said:
“Birmingham’s offer has gone from strength to strength in recent years and the city’s world-class infrastructure and connectivity has clearly given its bid the edge. We’ve already seen huge national and international investment pouring into the city but the economic benefits of hosting a global event like the Commonwealth Games would take this to a whole new level.”