Birmingham has become England’s chosen city to bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after the Commonwealth Games Delivery Unit (CGDU) eliminated Liverpool from the process Thursday. The West Midlands city will be recommended as a candidate city to vie for the Games on the international stage in a race that will be determined in December.
“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,” Ian Ward, Deputy Leader and Chair of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Committee said.
The city will now need a final, expected approval from the UK Government before moving forward in the race to replace Durban as host of the 2022 Games after the South African city was stripped of the opportunity when it missed key financial milestones.
Government officials are looking for a “compelling business case” and a “strong economic and sporting legacy” before they’ll give Birmingham the final nod.
The likely endorsement by the Federal Government could be a crowning moment for Birmingham as potential international competitors have been dropping out of the fast moving race. From Canada, 1994 Commonwealth Games host Victoria cancelled plans to bid last month after the provincial government said they were not ready to commit funds to the project while Ontario’s Capital Toronto abandoned plans earlier in the summer over cost fears.
Only Kuala Lumpur remains as a potential rival, but the Malaysian city has yet to receive approval from its government, and the bid fears that there may not be enough time ahead of the end-of-September Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) deadline. Both Birmingham and defeated Liverpool had started plans for the 2026 bid before the 2022 opportunity arose, and were better prepared to handle the tight timelines.
Australian cities have also expressed interest in bidding but national authorities said plans would not move forward unless there were no qualified international rivals to host instead. Australia is set to stage the 2018 edition of the Games in Gold Coast.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson conceded the race on Twitter with “Liverpool has lost its bid to host Commonwealth Games 2022 thanks to my team. Congratulations and good luck Birmingham wish you well.”
Later the Mayor said “I am hugely disappointed not to have won the UK nomination for Commonwealth Games 2022.
“I believed our bid was an excellent bid and one which deserved to win. We are extremely proud of the work we put in to building a plan for what would have been an exciting and transformational games and a powerful example of the potential of the Northern Powerhouse.”
Liverpool 2022 Chair Brian Barwick added “I’d like to congratulate the city of Birmingham on making it to the next phase, and would like to offer this city’s support to the bid as it aims to represent the UK internationally. It will be great to see the Commonwealth Games back in the UK and we wish Birmingham well for the next stage in this process.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the hard-working and super-talented team that put the Liverpool Bid together and am sure in due course a lot of positives will come through for the city from their endeavours.”
Mayor of West Midlands Andy Street said “The regional support of the Midlands was a key determining factor and I want to thank all those regional agencies and organisations that have worked hard over the last six months to get us to this position. We will make the Commonwealth proud.”
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.
If Birmingham is approved to move forward, the bid will make presentations to the CGF in October before a December election.