Birm­ing­ham now favourite to clinch 2022 Games bid Liver­pool’s sour grapes as UK backs Mid­lands

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

BIRM­ING­HAM is now favourite to clinch the 2022 Com­mon­wealth Games af­ter it se­cured the gov­ern­ment’s back­ing as the of­fi­cial UK bid.

The city’s suc­cess in clinch­ing the UK bid was wel­comed by busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers as Com­mon­wealth Fed­er­a­tion judges picked Birm­ing­ham ahead of big city ri­val Liver­pool.

But Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said the city must now prove that its plan to host the 2022 Com­mon­wealth Games of­fers value for money.

She said Birm­ing­ham’s bid could pro­ceed “sub­ject to that”, but also told the House of Com­mons that bring­ing the games to Birm­ing­ham “would present a unique op­por­tu­nity for the West Mid­lands, and it would of course pro­mote global Bri­tain across the Comon­wealth.”

This week it was re­vealed that in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion for the Games was slip­ping away, with Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia now de­cid­ing to bid for the 2026 Games in­stead and a bid from Vic­to­ria in Canada fail­ing to win gov­ern­ment back­ing.

Mean­while, Aus­tralia, whose Gold Coast is host­ing the 2018 Games, will only step in if no-one else is able to.

So it seems Birm­ing­ham’s bid now has no sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­na­tional ri­vals.

Sources within Liver­pool’s bid team and coun­cil were said to be shocked at los­ing out to Birm­ing­ham.

As late as the night be­fore the de­ci­sion, those within the Liver­pool team were said to be “very con­fi­dent” that the city was in pole po­si­tion.

They be­lieved their “trans­for­ma­tional” bid and re­gen­er­a­tion plan for the north of Liver­pool had se­ri­ously im­pressed the games judges.

Liver­pool mayor Joe An­der­son said: “I am hugely dis­ap­pointed be­cause I think we had an ex­cel­lent and trans­for­ma­tional bid that would have been good for Liver­pool and the Com­mon­wealth Games in gen­eral.

“I think our bid was a gold medal bid and I think the Gov­ern­ment have opted for a bronze medal bid, but I do wish Birm­ing­ham well.”

A suc­cess­ful Birm­ing­ham bid will see ma­jor in­vest­ment ploughed into the city and its neigh­bours, not only through up­graded sports venues and train­ing fa­cil­i­ties – in­clud­ing a brand new aquat­ics cen­tre on the bor­der in Sandwell – but also new hous­ing and trans­port schemes.

Lo­cal firms and work­ers will be at the front of the queue for con­tracts.

The com­pe­ti­tion to host the Games was opened up af­ter the with­drawal of orig­i­nal host city Dur­ban ear­lier this year. Timescales to de­liver the Games are, as a re­sult, tighter than usual.

But with key venues such as the Alexan­der Sta­dium, the NEC and Arena Birm­ing­ham, the Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham and Villa Park al­ready in place, Birm­ing­ham had pitched it­self as low­cost and de­liv­er­able within those three years.

West Mid­lands Mayor Andy Street and Coun­cil­lor Ian Ward, the chair­man of Birm­ing­ham’s bid, both wel­comed the de­ci­sion to ap­point the city as the UK’s can­di­date.

Now Games au­thor­i­ties, the gov­ern­ment and the Birm­ing­ham bid team will be work­ing to en­sure the fi­nal bid is as strong as pos­si­ble and pro­vides good value for the tax­payer.

Bid com­mit­tee chair­man Ian Ward said: “This is a great en­dorse­ment by the UK Gov­ern­ment of Birm­ing­ham’s cre­den­tials to host the Games and recog­ni­tion of the city’s re­solve to de­liver a mem­o­rable event.

“This is not the end of the jour­ney and we look for­ward to work­ing with the gov­ern­ment as it makes its fi­nal de­ci­sion to sup­port a UK Can­di­date City.”

> The pro­posed de­vel­op­ment of Birm­ing­ham’s Alexan­der Sta­dium

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.