Bids for Commonwealth Games ‘too close to call’
IT is “too close to call” between England, Australia, Canada and Malaysia over who will host the Commonwealth Games, a senior British sports chief has said.
But Commonwealth Games England chief executive Paul Blanchard has praised both English contenders Birmingham and Liverpool for putting together impressive bids within a very short time scale.
Proposed venues for a Birmingham’s Games include an upgraded Alexander Stadium, the NEC’s four arenas, the University of Birmingham hockey and squash centres and a new swimming pool in Sandwell.
Mr Blanchard said both cities were developing two high quality bids leaving England in a strong position to host the 2022 Games.
He said: “The honest answer to who’s the favourite is that you cannot call it.
“We are in a very strong position in that we’ve got two there who have got another month or so to develop their bid and address some of the issues that have been raised. But they’re not fundamental issues.”
He described both cities as “very, very good bids”.
“If you think about how much time they have had, particularly in comparison with a normal bid process, they have done a staggering amount of work to get to where they are.”
He said although many rate England – whether Liverpool or Birmingham is chosen – as favourite, there is no arrogance.
“We know we are in a tough international battle,” he added.
Both Birmingham and Liverpool have now been visited by the Gov- ernment’s Commonwealth Games Delivery Unit panel, who have reviewed the bids in detail and given feedback to the rival cities.
Liverpool has been asked to provide “bulletproof assurances” that it can install a temporary athletics track at Everton FC’s new stadium within a tight timescale if it wins the bid. Birmingham is due to submit its bid in late August.
The winning city will be chosen by September 30 when the final bid will be submitted to the international Commonwealth Games Federation.
The judges will then review the bids in October and is expected to announce the host city in November.
The honest answer to who’s the favourite is that you cannot call it Paul Blanchard
> An artist’s impression of the proposed Birmingham Aquatics Centre as the city bids for the 2022 Commonwealth Games