POSTED: October 2nd 2017

Commonwealth Games 2022: UK Government officially backs Birmingham bid as the sole bidder in the race

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) British Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has announced that Birmingham will be the United Kingdom's official candidate city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Birmingham bid team, together with the government and Commonwealth Games England collaborated to finalize the formal bid file to submit to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in time for the September 30th deadline. 

The Commonwealth Games were originally going to Durban, South Africa in 2015 but the host city was stripped of its hosting rights after the city was unable to meet the criteria set forth by the CGF to stage the event and is the only official bid to step in for Durban.

The plan to bid after hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Rugby World Cup, was developed as all have shown how major sporting events can generate a positive return on investment in the UK.

Bradley said in a statement, "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.

"The UK has fantastic expertise in staging major sporting events and it would be a privilege to welcome athletes and supporters from across the Commonwealth to Birmingham and the West Midlands in 2022."

Birmingham 2022 proposes to utilize up to 95% of existing venues putting forth a low risk high quality project plan. The government has carried out an extensive three phase assessment in order to thoroughly go over the city's concrete potential.

The Commonwealth Games plan would include competition venues in in Solihull, Coventry, Sandwell and Leamington Spa as well as training venues across the region, bringing benefits not just to the city, but to the wider West Midlands.

The bid plan was scrutinized by an independent assessment panel and officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which included the submission of two formal applications and two site inspection visits.

Councillor Ian Ward, Interim Leader of Birmingham City Council and Chair of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Committee, added, "We have worked closely with the DCMS and the Treasury to create a compelling, compliant and value for money bid for Birmingham to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The support of the UK Government is a great endorsement of our bid and we are excited about finalizing our submission and edging closer to the opportunity to bring the Games to Birmingham.

"The support we have received from a range of public and private sector partners and from across the wider West Midlands region and beyond has been incredible and we thank everyone for backing Brum's bid to get us this far."

Ian Metcalfe, Chair of Commonwealth Games England said: "Anyone who experienced Manchester in 2002, London in 2012 or Glasgow in 2014 will know just how special major sporting events in the UK can be. I am sure that Birmingham can stage an unforgettable Commonwealth Games in 2022. Birmingham's exciting bid shows that the Games will not only deliver a sport programme of the highest calibre but also provide an amazing platform for the country as a whole.

"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 decision is expected by the end of the year after the CGF Board meets in Sri Lanka October 5/6 to study the Birmingham plan.

David Grevemberg CBE, Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Games Federation said, "Over the past few months, a CGF Review Team has been working with countries from across the Commonwealth to evaluate and advise on their potential hosting plans and Games delivery solutions. There have been a range of conversations with a number of CGAs, Cities and Governments who have mobilised to consider the opportunity of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, taking into account the special circumstances which the CGF is managing regarding this hosting decision.

"Bid documentation has been received from Birmingham, England and the CGF will now go through a comprehensive review and feedback process to ensure the bid meets the requirements of successfully hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games. There have also been continued expressions of interest and support from Canada, Malaysia and Australia. 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. A final decision on the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is expected by the end of the year."

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-six years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Commonwealth Games · UK · Birmingham 2022

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