Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games will need to wait a little longer before being confirmed while the Commonwealth Games Federation (CFG) treads cautiously before awarding the Games for a second time.
At an Executive Board meeting in Gold Coast, Australia Wednesday where the 2018 edition of the event is scheduled to take place, the 2022 Evaluation Panel was given more time to to vet options that are available after Birmingham was the lone candidate to meet a September application deadline and the only viable city still officially in the hunt after the November 30 extension expired.
According to a CGF spokesperson, there is an interested city that has asked for additional time to complete its submission to the process – and the extension has been granted. That city has not been named.
The CGF said last month that Birmingham’s offer was “not fully compliant”, mainly due to the nature of the government guarantees being offered. The CGF hopes to finalize a decision by year-end.
“The CGF is close to making a decision to select the host city of the 2022 Games,” CGF President Louise Martin said in a statement.
“We thank all nations who have participated in the process.
“We are also close to achieving significant Games legacy objectives, however we have been asked to provide a little more time in order for these to be realised, and in the interest of good partnership we have decided to allow this.”
Victoria, Canada and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia had opened a dialogue with the CGF but both cities continue to lack the government endorsements required to move forward with an application. Several cities in Australia have expressed interest but officials there said that with the Games being staged in Gold Coast next year that they would only serve as a final option for 2022 if no other viable cities came forward.
The CGF says that in all, eight cities have been involved in the process.
“We will continue to remain flexible and collaborative in a true sense of partnership with potential hosts so that, above all, we have a decision that the entire Commonwealth can get behind,” Martin added.
“It is essential that we have fully examined all aspects of the cities’ bid submissions and expressions of interest, and that we are fully satisfied that the ultimate host for 2022 is capable of staging a Games that fully delivers for Commonwealth athletes and host communities.”
All parties will be eager for Birmingham to get that stamp of approval quickly as the city is already facing a compressed timetable in which to organize the Games as a potential replacement for Durban, South Africa. That city was stripped of the event earlier in the year after missing financial milestones.
Durban ran unopposed to win the 2022 Games in September 2015; the replacement city will have 27 less months for its planning.
Birmingham 2022 Chair Ian Ward said in a statement “Birmingham, the Government and Commonwealth Games England are continuing to have productive discussions with the Commonwealth Games Federation as we enter the final stages of what has been a collaborative and positive process within a challenging time-frame.
“It’s a hugely significant decision and we welcome the robustness of the process. All our efforts have been focused on demonstrating that Birmingham would make the ideal host for the 2022 Games. We look forward to a decision from the CGF in the near future.”
Editor’s Note: Updated December 7, 2017 to clarify the reason for CGF’s delay.