Extra cash sets Europeans on track to leave a lasting legacy - The Solihull Observer

Extra cash sets Europeans on track to leave a lasting legacy

Solihull Editorial 21st Jan, 2024   0

AN EXTRA £600,000 has been put into the pot to help cover the cost of the 2026 European Athletics Championships (EAC) in the West Midlands.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) also reaffirmed a £13.7million contribution towards the staging of the EAC from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund, £3million of which had originally been earmarked for grassroots sports.

All EAC partners, including the WMCA, have been asked to consider whether they can make further contributions to bridge a £2.2million shortfall in the delivery budget.

The WMCA has been working closely with the UK Government and wider partners to secure additional funding with the Government also now agreeing to commit up to £680,000.

West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street said: “We know from previous experience that these high-profile events do deliver positive impact – bringing in valuable investment and creating local jobs – and it’s important we build on the success of the Commonwealth Games to continue to establish the West Midlands as a leading location for major sporting events.

“It’s really important that major events like this leave a lasting legacy for residents. That’s why I’ve asked my team to ensure they strain every sinew to protect grassroots and community funding. My support for the European Athletics Championships still going ahead was contingent on this amendment.”

At the Board meeting, the Mayor moved an amendment to instruct the WMCA finance director to see whether it would be possible to find the £3 million intended for grassroots sports initiatives from alternative WMCA funding streams to ensure community and grassroots organisations do not miss out.

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said: “This is brilliant news for Birmingham’s status as a host of major sporting events.

“By working together, the Government, West Midlands Combined Authority and wider partners are providing the additional certainty to enable for the region to welcome the 2026 European Athletics Championships.

“Having successfully delivered the record-breaking Commonwealth Games in 2022, the Championships will deliver an estimated £30 million economic boost for the city.”

The 2026 European Athletics Championships will be the first time a British city has hosted the event and is expected to bring 120,000 spectators to the region.

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