Birmingham submits formal bid to stage Commonwealth Games

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street (right) with Cllr Ian Ward, deputy leader, Birmingham City Council

Birmingham has officially notified the Government of its intention to bid to stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Confirmation of the bid came during a meeting of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s board, being chaired by new Mayor Andy Street for the first time since his election.

Birmingham had already been working on a bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026. But a replacement city is now being sought for the 2022 Games after host city Durban, in South Africa, had to stand down.

Mr Street said: “For this bid to be successful, it’s important the entire region gets behind it and that’s exactly what we’ve done today.

“I can’t think of a more fitting showcase for our resurgent region in 2022 than to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

“It was important we were quick out of the blocks on this bid and I would like to congratulate the bid team for the work they have put into getting this ready for submission.”

Birmingham City Council deputy leader, Cllr Ian Ward, who is also chair of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bid Company, said: “A Commonwealth Games for Birmingham would actually be a Commonwealth Games for the wider West Midlands region as a number of the key venues and training facilities would be situated outside of the city’s immediate boundaries.

“If we are to be successful with our bid, we need all partners from all sectors across the region to support it – which is why it is encouraging to have the support of the Mayor and council colleagues from the combined authority.

“By working together and pooling resources, we will have the best possible chance of securing the Games in 2022 and all of the social and economic benefits the event has brought to other host cities.”

The Government issued a call to UK cities interested in hosting the 2022 Games last month and will work with bidders and the relevant Commonwealth Games Associations on a detailed assessment of whether Britain can step in to host the event.

This will include looking at important factors such as the economic benefits the Games could deliver to the UK – and to the host city or cities – through international trade, investment and tourism opportunities.

The assessment will also look at the necessary infrastructure and major event delivery experience that potential host cities have.

Birmingham will be up against cities in Australia, Canada and Malaysia.

Due to the unexpectedly high interest, a decision, which was originally due to be made by mid-summer, is now understood to be scheduled for the autumn.

Elsewhere, Mr Street has confirmed the appointment of Cllr Bob Sleigh, leader of Solihull Borough Council, as Deputy Mayor.

Cllr Sleigh has been chair of the WMCA since its inauguration in August 2015.

The Mayor is required to appoint a deputy from the seven leaders of the constituent local authorities. In the weeks and months ahead, further leadership appointments will be made – some from outside the current membership of the WMCA.

Mr Street said: “I wanted Bob to take on the role of Deputy Mayor for two main reasons.

“First, he has done an excellent job in getting the West Midlands Combined Authority to where it is now, effectively laying the foundations to enable the Mayor to build on the progress.

“Second, having been chosen as Chairman in August 2015, it is clear he has the support and trust of the other council leaders. That will be crucial as we work to unite the leadership of the West Midlands.”

The two men already have a working relationship from Mr Street’s tenure as chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP.