Brian Barwick, a 62 year-old sports executive from Liverpool has been appointed Chair of Liverpool’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games, either in 2022 or 2026.
Liverpool has been preparing a candidacy for the 2026 edition of the Games but last month’s withdrawal of Durban, South Africa from hosting the 2022 Games it was awarded in 2015 has left a vacancy that the city is ready to pursue. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) will launch a process for bidding for the earlier Games and is expected to name a replacement host by the end of the year.
Barwick, who will now accelerate preparations to put 2022 in focus, is currently Chair of the Rugby Football League (RFL), Super League Europe Ltd, the National League and a member of the FA Council.
The former head of BBC Sport, controller of ITV Sport and Chief Executive of the Football Association will lead what the bid describes as ‘Team Liverpool’ – “a group of world-leading experts with an unparalleled track record in successfully bidding for major sporting events, including the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and the FIFA World Cup.”
Barwick explained “having worked in and around sport most of my adult life, the chance to lead the work for my home city of Liverpool to host the Commonwealth Games is a huge privilege.”
“I am delighted to be involved in this project and clear that Liverpool, with such an illustrious sports history, will make the perfect host city for the Commonwealth Games.
“I have already spent some time with the team and am very impressed with their enthusiasm and expertise.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said “I am delighted that Brian Barwick has accepted my invitation to Chair the city’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games.”
“He brings a wealth of experience both as a leader of some of the biggest sports organisations in the country and a successful career at the highest level in TV sport.
“The Commonwealth Games has the potential to be a game changer in further driving forward the city’s regeneration and renaissance, reflecting our growing confidence and attracting jobs, investment and profile that money simply can’t buy, putting us on the world map.”
Liverpool is backed by a diverse consulting team of experienced bid experts. Strategic advisors include 4 Global Consulting; technical feasibility plans will be developed by Wilson Owens Owens (WOO); Deloitte will conduct an economic impact assessment; VERO Communications will manage Public Relations and Communications; Brand Oath will deliver branding.
If the team hopes to be a contender for the 2022 edition, it will need to compress the usual bidding timeframe into just a few months.
Liverpool, along with Birmingham might have the advantage in the 2022 race having already been developing plans for a 2026 Games bid, and London and Manchester in the U.K. are also discussing potential campaigns. As well, there is interest from Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and Edmonton, Canada – the latter having dropped out of the 2022 race due to economic concerns, leaving Durban as the last standing candidate.
Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, all in Australia, have also indicated interest in replacing Durban for the 2022 Games but all would seem unlikely choices since the 2018 Games will be staged in Australia’s Gold Coast.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.