Birmingham in the U.K. has received crucial government approval as the nation’s official candidate to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in the U.K. made the announcement Friday only one day prior to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Sept. 30 application deadline.
The approval means Birmingham will likely be chosen to replace Durban as host city for the 2022 Games after the South African city was stripped of the Games earlier in the year for missing financial milestones. Potential bid rivals Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Victoria in Canada aren’t expected meet the Saturday deadline with both lacking required government support that has been difficult to arrange in the shortened replacement bid process.
“There are continuing discussions with potential hosts in England, Canada, Malaysia and Australia,” CGF Chief David Grevemberg told the BBC.
“At its board meeting in Sri Lanka on 5 and 6 October, the CGF executive board will receive an update on the current status of the 2022 selection process. We anticipate that the collaborations will continue thereafter and a final decision on the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is expected by the end of the year.”
Birmingham was chosen over domestic opponent Liverpool earlier in September by the Commonwealth Games Delivery Unit (CGDU), and both cities had already been preparing bids to host the 2026 edition of the Games giving them a leg-up on the international competition. The 2018 Games are scheduled to be held in Gold Coast and officials have said an Australian bid for 2022 would only occur if no other qualified city could be found by the CGF.
Secretary of State for DCMS Karen Bradley said Friday “the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham would be brilliant.”
“It would showcase the best of Britain to the world and make the entire country proud. Not only would it help grow the economy in the West Midlands and beyond, it would also leave a strong sports legacy, by upgrading facilities to benefit both elite athletes and the local community.
“Birmingham’s bid has the backing of the government and our focus now is to work alongside Birmingham’s excellent bid team and Commonwealth Games England to put forward the strongest possible bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation, while ensuring that we get maximum value for money for the taxpayer.”
— Birmingham 2022 (@birminghamcg22) September 29, 2017
Chair of Commonwealth Games England Ian Metcalfe said “on behalf of Commonwealth Games England I would like to thank both the Government and Birmingham 2022 for their hard work and support to date.”
“Alongside the Birmingham 2022 team, we look forward to presenting the strongest possible bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation in the hope that we can welcome the whole Commonwealth movement to England for the Games in 2022.”
A key component of Birmingham’s bid is the construction of the UK’s largest permanent athletics stadium.
Birmingham bid for the 1992 Olympic Games but was soundly defeated by four other cities in a six bid race that was won by Barcelona, Spain.
Birmingham will make presentations to the CGF in October before a December election to officially name the 2022 host.
A bid application from Birmingham will be delivered to the Commonwealth Games Federation on Saturday.