Birmingham to bid for 2026 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham is joining the bidding to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

City council leader John Clancy said Birmingham was a “fantastic sporting city”, hosting major events including The Ashes and the Rugby World Cup.

The council has launched a feasibility study and claimed the event could generate more than £390m for the region.

The mayor of Liverpool revealed in August that they are also planning a bid.

‘Warm, welcoming and friendly’

Other places expected to be in the running include Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and Edmonton in Canada.

It is 31 years since the city’s memorably unpersuasive attempt to host the Summer Olympics of 1992 failed to have the desired effect, but those behind the Commonwealth bid say the city is ready to play host this time.

Mr Clancy said: “We have proven ourselves to be warm, welcoming and friendly hosts to a number of international events in recent years.

“In addition to the huge economic impact, these events showcase the very best of our city and wider region to the world.”

Analysis: Katharine Merry, bronze medal winner in the 400m, 2000 Sydney Olympics

It’s about time Birmingham and the West Midlands hosted a multi-sport event.

We’ve been accused of dropping behind Sheffield and Manchester in terms of our sporting prowess – an accusation I would challenge because of the amount of international competitions we have.

This is exciting, we really are ready for it. The infrastructure we have in place across Birmingham and the West Midlands is second to none.

There’s so many reasons [we should be picked] – the amount of visitors that could come, the amount of money that could come into the city and the surrounding areas, the amount of jobs it could create.

There’s so many positive things – now is our time.

Venues that could be used to host events include Villa Park, the Alexander Stadium, Edgbaston Cricket Ground, the NEC and the Genting Arena.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, said: “Birmingham is a city with a fantastic sporting pedigree.

“The Commonwealth Games transformed Manchester in 2002 and did the same for Glasgow in 2014, so it’s no surprise that Birmingham is interested in hosting the Games in 2026.”

Birmingham’s International Meets

  • Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham’s oldest international sports venue, staged its first Test Match in 1902. The Ashes, England v Australia 2015, generated £26.4m
  • The Belfry Golf Course is the world’s only four-time host of the Ryder Cup
  • Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Society, founded in 1860, is the oldest surviving lawn tennis club in the world and hosts the LTA Aegon Classic
  • The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and the Barclaycard Arena host many international events, including the World Indoor Championship Athletics, the International Horse of the Year Show and Davis Cup tennis
  • The Alexander Stadium annually hosts the British Athletics Championships and Diamond League

She added the government looked forward to sharing its “knowledge and expertise” with Birmingham and any other interested cities to help them develop “credible and realistic” bids.

Bob Sleigh, chairman of the West Midlands Combined Authority, which is backing Birmingham’s bid, said other “incredible” facilities in the region could also be used, such as West Bromwich Albion’s Hawthorns stadium and Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena.

Candidates have to notify their intention to bid by March 2018, and the winner will be announced in November 2019.

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