Birmingham reaffirms ability to host Commonwealth Games

Birmingham has submitted a revised bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation in a final attempt to convince the body it can act as host city for the 2022 event.

The city had thought it had secured the sporting event after it was the only city to submit a bid before the September 30 deadline.

Birmingham was thought to be the only contender after the only viable rival, Kuala Lumpur, dropped out of the bidding to focus on the 2026 event.

However, the CGF reopened the bidding for the 2022 Games after it judged Birmingham’s bid as not “fully compliant”.

One of the main stumbling blocks was thought to be the Athletes Village and the ability of the city to provide accommodation for all competitors.
The CGF set a fresh deadline of November 30, for all interested parties to enable the submission of fully compliant proposals.

The CGF updates had been received from Australia, Canada, England and Malaysia but was not clear on whether fresh bids had been submitted.

Birmingham’s revised offer was agreed at a special meeting of the city’s cabinet on Friday where the council again underlined it had a firm commitment from the Government that in the event of a successful bid by Birmingham, it would agree to fund 75% of the delivery cost of the Games, which would be an investment of several hundred million pounds into the city and region.

The remaining 25% of the cost would be funded by the city council in conjunction with regional public and private bodies. The funding is divided between revenue (day to day operational spending) and capital (money which is for assets, plant, buildings).

The total cost of the Birmingham offer is not known as the council said it was still part of the international bidding process.

A report to Friday’s meeting stated: “The requirement to commit to fund a share of the Games in the context of already significant financial challenges faced by the council will need to be carefully managed. In particular the risk of cost overruns will need managing.

“The city council is determined that the funding mechanisms it is exploring should not prejudice day to day services and that the revenue requirement supporting the Organising Committee costs should not come from council tax. The council and regional partner contribution will therefore predominantly be through capital funding which, depending on the source of the capital, need not impact on day to day services.”

One option thought to be under consideration is a hotel tax, with a levy of £2 being placed on rooms during the Games to help towards the final cost of staging the event.

An economic benefits analysis, commissioned from PwC for the West Midlands, concludes the Games would be worth an incremental increase to the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the West Midlands of £526m, while it would also support an average of 4,526 workers per year between 2018 to 2022.

On the Athletes Village, the report said: “An essential part of the Games is the provision of the Commonwealth Games Village. This would be a development of more than 1,000 homes, which would be returned to the council after the Games.

“The Village, while bringing some delivery challenges to the council, would be the catalyst for an accelerated programme of regeneration in Perry Barr including significant investment in infrastructure. This will in turn lead to the development of 3,000 homes in that area.”

Should the CGF be convinced by the revised offer then a final decision could be made before Christmas.