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Birmingham sees off Liverpool’s bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games – but track cycling events would be held in London or Manchester

Government selects West Midlands city as preferred bidder, but council has no plans to build a new velodrome

Birmingham has today been chosen as the government’s preferred bidder for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, beating off a rival bit from Liverpool – but if the city secures the event, it is likely that track cycling events would have to be held in either Manchester or London.

The hosting of the 2022 edition was originally awarded two years ago to Durban, South Africa. However, In March this year the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) stripped the city, which did not have government support for the bid, of its hosting rights since it was unable to meet its criteria.

In March, the CGF said that it planned to announce a new host city by the end of the year. As well as Birmingham and Liverpool, the city of Victoria in Canada also announced an official bid to replace Durban as host, but last month the British Columbia government withdrew its support.

1998 host city Kuala Lumpur, which last month staged the South East Asian Games, has also expressed an interest but has acknowledged that it may not be able to secure backing from the Malaysian government before the CGF’s deadline for bids, meaning Birmingham is the frontrunner provided its final bid is approved by Whitehall and accepted by the CGF.

Today’s announcement that the city is the government’s preferred bidder is subject to Birmingham presenting “a compelling business case” that shows “clear value for taxpayers’ money to receive government funding towards an official bid,” said the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”

It added: “While both bids were of high quality, Birmingham’s bid was considered particularly strong on its management of risk, its high quality existing venue infrastructure” – the city council says existing facilities will be used for 95 per cent of venues – “and its plans for a long-term sporting legacy.”

With keeping the bid within a tight budget a priority, there are no plans to build a new venue in Birmingham for track cycling – Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, which hosted the sport at the 2014 Commonwealth Games cost £113 million.

And while there is an international standard velodrome 35 miles away in Derby, its capacity of 1,700 falls below the CGF’s requirements.

Track cycling is an optional one at the Commonwealth Games, with its inclusion left to the discretion of the bidding cities.

But with a number of Commonwealth countries including the home nations, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia and New Zealand all having world-class track cyclists, it’s hard to see the discipline being excluded.

That leaves London’s Lee Valley VeloPark, built for the 2012 Olympic Games, or the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, where the velodrome was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games – as the two workable options.

The use of those venues for track cycling should Birmingham host the Games was confirmed to The Times earlier this week by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

He said: “This is not just a city bid, this is a Midlands bid and the most important thing about our bid is that we already have the huge majority of our venues built.

"This would be a post-Brexit Games and a critical part of our campaign is that there is a very strong business component to this.” 

Welcoming today’s announcement by the DCMS, Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council and chair of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Committee, said: "This is a great endorsement by the UK government of Birmingham’s credentials to host the Games and recognition of the city’s resolve to deliver a memorable event.

"We appreciate that it was a very close decision and that Liverpool pushed us all the way with a very compelling proposal. This is not the end of the journey and we look forward to working with the government as it makes its final decision to support a UK candidate city," he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Valbrona | 6 years ago
1 like

Birmingham = Basket Case.

It doesn't have an aquatics centre as well.

JonD replied to Valbrona | 6 years ago
Valbrona wrote:

Birmingham = Basket Case.

It doesn't have an aquatics centre as well.

Well, there's always Gas St Basin and the rest of the canal network. ..

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