BIRMINGHAM’S selection as the potential UK bid for the Commonwealth Games has been welcomed in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Potential venues could include the Ricoh Arena and the Leamington bowls club.
It is also anticipated that a West Midlands-based Commonwealth Games would be an economic and tourism boost for the entire region, including Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull.
The development has been welcomed by the organisers of Coventry’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.
A statement reads: “Glasgow has had both European Capital of Culture and the Commonwealth Games, the north of England (Liverpool, Manchester and Hull) has had EU Capital of Culture, the Commonwealth Games and UK City of Culture.
“But now is the time for the Midlands to take the stage – Birmingham had originally been planning a bid for 2026, but this could enable the Midlands to stake its claim earlier and link closely with Coventry’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.
“Whilst the bid is separate, there are strong connections and synergies.
“Coventry has been working for three years on its bid for UK City of Culture – we have the people, 100 businesses, two universities, the city and the region behind us.
“Coventry’s bid is about step change in a diverse, modern city and reaching local people
“It will have a lasting impact on tourism, regeneration and jobs in Coventry, but is also very focused on tackling local inequalities. We can provide the perfect build up to a Commonwealth Games and make people realise that this is a combined Midlands offer.
“If both are successful it will be generational opportunity to change perceptions of the Midlands and position it as a world class centre of contemporary culture, heritage and sport.
“UK City of Culture offers 12 full months of events and the title would be bestowed on Coventry for four years. Having the Commonwealth Games in 2022 as one of legacy year events would be an extra benefit and allow us to programme a month long festival around it.”
The Ricoh Arena was used for Olympic football in 2012. Leamington bowls club hosts the national championships, and has been the venue for international events.
During the London Olympics, several venues in our sub-region were also used as training bases for international teams, including the University of Warwick.
It is considered the UK could be up against Malaysia as the strongest rival for selection to host the Games.
The second city has been chosen ahead of Liverpool as the UK’s chosen city.