Birmingham in one-city race to host 2022 Games

Birmingham is expected to be confirmed as the host city of the 2022 Commonwealth Games within weeks after it was the only bid submitted before Friday’s deadline.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street tweeted: “Still work to be done – no complacency here”, with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) now to “go through a comprehensive review and feedback process” of the city’s bid.

Potential bids from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Victoria, Canada did not materialise, with their governments declining to support applications.

A final decision is expected before the end of the year, leaving less than five years to create all the facilities required.

While one of the strengths of Birmingham’s bid is that 95% of the proposed sporting venues already exist, there remains the major challenge of building sufficient accommodation to create the athletes’ village.

If Birmingham clears the final hurdle, it will bring the Games to England for only the third time in 22 events, following London and Manchester as previous hosts.

The Commonwealth Games Federation has been searching for a city to replace the South African city of Durban, which had been chosen as hosts in September 2015 then stripped of the honour in March this year.

The Commonweath Games last came to the UK in 2014, when Glasgow was the host city
(Credit: Creative Commons / Graham Campbell)

Birmingham and Liverpool had been preparing bids for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, but both cities accelerated their plans. The UK Government selected Birmingham as its preferred option at the start of September before approving the West Midlands’ city’s bid on Friday.

“The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham would be brilliant,” said Culture Secretary and West Midlands MP Karen Bradley. “It would showcase the best of Britain to the world and make the entire country proud.

“Not only would it help grow the economy in the West Midlands and beyond, it would also leave a strong sports legacy, by upgrading facilities to benefit both elite athletes and the local community.”

West Midlands Growth Company chief executive Neil Rami believes hosting the Games would enable the region “to present itself as the face of modern Britain”.

He added: “It would allow the region to not only underline its trade and investment credentials, but to put on a great cultural spectacle to visitors from across the Commonwealth’s 71 nations.”

The 2018 Games will be hosted by Gold Coast, Australia. The Games have been held in the UK on six previous occasions – London in 1934, Cardiff in 1958, Edinburgh in 1970 and 1986, Manchester in 2002, and Glasgow in 2014.