Birmingham business community back Commonwealth Games bid

Birmingham’s commitment to bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 has won the support of the city’s business community.

The city had been preparing a bid for the 2026 Games but brought forward its plans when original host city Durban was forced to pull its plans.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GFBCC), said: “The business community in Greater Birmingham fully supports this initiative.

“The business community will be keen to help meet the challenges of this earlier bid, which will present a huge range of opportunities for all businesses. The bid itself will bring a focus on Birmingham at a time when it is driving its importance on the global stage.

“We already have a great track record in delivering huge sporting events, including the World Indoor Athletics Championships,  ICC Champions Trophy,  Davis Cup tennis, the British Basketball League Finals, the  All England Open Badminton Championships, the Rugby World Cup and championship boxing.”

Mr Faulkner, a former chief executive at Aston Villa, is also chairman of Sport Birmingham and a director of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Company.

To support its bid for the Games, the city has endorsed a new feasibility plan, outlining the logistics of staging the event.

Details of the Birmingham feasibility study remain confidential at this stage while the report is taken through the cross-party political and democratic processes of the city council.

The study will then form part of a public report to the council’s cabinet in the coming weeks, at which point everyone with an interest in the proposed bid will be able to analyse its merits.

It is understood the merits of formal proposals from across the UK will be considered before the selection of a candidate bid to compete against rivals from other Commonwealth nations for the honour of staging the games.

The Commonwealth Games Federation, which administers the event on an overall basis, is expected to make a final decision on the replacement 2022 host by mid-summer.

Another supporter of the bid is Conservative Mayoral candidate Andy Street.

He said he would make the bid a priority on day one of his mayorship if elected on May 4.

He said: “I have long been a supporter of Birmingham’s bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2026. However, the opportunity presented for the 2022 games means we should step up our efforts.

“I truly believe the bid should be for the entire West Midlands, bringing everybody together behind a cause.

“What could be a better global showcase for our resurgent region than hosting the Commonwealth Games?”