The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), with new Mayor Andy Street at its helm, issued an emphatic endorsement today (Friday May 12) of Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The WMCA board, which was being chaired by Mr Street for the first time since his election last week, agreed to formally back the bid and support Birmingham in bringing the Games to the region.
The Mayor was joined by Cllr Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, ahead of the city’s official notification to Government later today that it intends to bid.
Birmingham had already been working on a bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026. But a replacement city is now being sought for the 2022 Games after host city Durban, in South Africa, had to stand down.
Andy said: “For this bid to be successful, it’s important the entire region gets behind it and that’s exactly what we’ve done today.
“I can’t think of a more fitting showcase for our resurgent region in 2022 than to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
“It was important we were quick out of the blocks on this bid and I would like to congratulate the bid team for the work they have put into getting this ready for submission.”
Cllr Ward, who is also chair of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Company, said: “When it comes to the Commonwealth Games, it is now Birmingham’s time to shine.
“A Commonwealth Games for Birmingham would actually be a Commonwealth Games for the wider West Midlands region as a number of the key venues and training facilities would be situated outside of the city’s immediate boundaries.
“If we are to be successful with our bid, we need all partners from all sectors across the region to support it – which is why it is encouraging to have the support of the Mayor and council colleagues from the combined authority.
“By working together and pooling resources, we will have the best possible chance of securing the Games in 2022 and all of the social and economic benefits the event has brought to other host cities.”
The Government issued a call to UK cities interested in hosting the 2022 Games last month and will work with bidders and the relevant Commonwealth Games Associations on a detailed assessment of whether Britain can step in to host the event.
This will include looking at important factors such as the economic benefits the Games could deliver to the UK – and to the host city or cities – through international trade, investment and tourism opportunities.
The assessment will also look at the necessary infrastructure and major event delivery experience that potential host cities have.
Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Games has already been endorsed by the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Company after it reviewed a detailed feasibility study produced by a consortium led by consultants Origin Sports Group.
The Bid Company decided it would be in the best interests of Birmingham and the wider region to put forward a proposal to stage the event, last hosted in England in 2002.
Exact details of the Birmingham feasibility study will remain confidential at this stage whilst the report is taken through the cross-party political and democratic processes of the city council.
It is understood that once the merits of formal proposals from cities across the UK have been assessed, a home country candidate will be selected to compete against rivals from other Commonwealth nations.
Australia, Canada and Malaysia have already expressed an interest in replacing Durban.
Due to the unexpectedly high interest, a decision, which was originally due to be made by mid-summer, is now understood to be scheduled for the autumn.
Games1; West Midlands Mayor Andy Street (right) offers Cllr Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, the region’s formal backing for the city’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid.
Games2; West Midlands Mayor Andy Street (left) and Deputy Mayor Cllr Bob Sleigh (right) offer Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council (centre left) and deputy leader Cllr Ian Ward (centre right), the region’s formal backing for the city’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid.