27th Oct, 2016

Birmingham could be the official host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games

Shaun Reynolds 8th Oct, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

COUNCILLORS in Birmingham have announced their intention to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, and are calling on the region to get behind the bid.

With the support of Birmingham City Council, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, the West Midlands Combined Authority and Midlands Engine, the bid has the potential to generate in excess of £390million for the local economy.

As well as being hugely prestigious and showcasing sporting talent from across the globe, the Games have a tangible economic benefit.

The Glasgow Games in 2014 generated nearly £740 million for Scotland – and attracted 690,000 additional visitors.

Should the bid be successful, the Commonwealth Games would add to Birmingham’s already prestigious list of sports hosted in the last decade – including The Ashes, Rugby World Cup, Diamond Athletics League and Aegon Classic.

Coun John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is a fantastic sporting city and 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.

“I hope that we get to do that yet again in 2026 and you can be sure the Games would be a huge success in Birmingham.”

Other cities believed to be considering bidding include Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, Edmonton in Canada and Liverpool.

The involvement of the West Midlands Combined Authority in the bid is expected to make the bid stronger, as facilities including Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and West Bromwich Albion’s Hawthorns stadium could be made available to use during the games.

In total, 71 teams will take part in the Games in sports such as athletics, bowls, netball, rugby sevens, gymnastics and boxing.

Steve Hollis, Deputy and Interim Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, said: “Greater Birmingham is one of the most connected regions in the world with unrivalled transport links, accommodation and world-class venues.

“Working collaboratively across the public and private sector has been the cornerstone of our economic success – and it’s that spirit that gives us a great chance of bringing the Games to Birmingham.”

Birmingham City Council will now commission a full feasibility study and form the Commonwealth Games 2026 bid organising committee to progress the city and region’s ambition to host the high-profile event.