Birmingham is going head to head with Liverpool to be the UK’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
They vacancy left by Durban, which withdrew as host city earlier this year, needs to be filled and the UK is one of the few Commonwealth countries equipped to deliver a Games at short notice.
And Birmingham, with a range of world class sporting facilities already in place in Alexander Stadium, the Barclaycard Arena, the NEC, Villa Park, Edgbaston cricket ground and many more is in a strong position.
Liverpool’s bid is based on several new stadia built from scratch – including an athletics stadium.
A team of experts who organised the London 2012 Olympic Games have already produced a report concluding that Birmingham has a excellent facilities and needs only modest investment to bring it up to full games standard.
As well as the city council, sports clubs and venues the bid also has the backing of leading business organisations including the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnership, the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and neighbouring councils through the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Sports stars including champion show jumper Nick Skelton, athlete Katharine Merry and the Warwickshire cricket team have also backed Birminghgam 2022.
Council deputy leader Ian Ward, who is chairing the bid, said: “Hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games will accelerate Birmingham’s existing development plans for homes, jobs, services and infrastructure.”
He said that with many Brummies and West Midlanders having strong family, social, business and cultural links to the Commonwealth countries the city is in a strong position.
“Our vision is brought to life through the new logo which positions Birmingham as the heart of the UK, soul of the Commonwealth. Our logo is open and inviting and its explosion of colour celebrates Birmingham’s super-diversity and youthful energy. Nearly 40 per cent of our population is under 25; and our pupils speak over 100 different languages, making Birmingham an inclusive and welcoming host.”
Among the major venues is the University of Birmingham which could host hockey and squash at it’s world-class facilities. Director of sport Zena Woodridge OBE said: “This is possibly the most exciting project for Birmingham in a generation; and the outcome of the extremely robust feasibility study gives a strong sense that this is Birmingham’s time.
“With the obvious need to minimise cost and risk of a 2022 Games, the engagement of some strong regional players creates an existing network of high impact venues that ensures we have a bold and ambitious bid which is eminently deliverable. If we then add into the equation Birmingham’s location and accessibility in the heart of the country, the transformation of the city over the last decade, and its strong Commonwealth ties, ‘Birmingham 2022’ is surely a winning option for the city, region, UK and Commonwealth Games Federation.”
The Government is looking for a single UK bid and will support the winning city with a majority of the funding.
Brummies are being urged to back the bid, including on social media with the tag #Brumbid2022