Birmingham hailed a ‘truly Commonwealth city’ by Games chief

The award of the Commonwealth Games to Birmingham has been hailed as a defining moment for what is a “truly Commonwealth city”.

The words were spoken by Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin as she announced the second city had been chosen to host the 2022 event.

She said: “We warmly congratulate Birmingham and England on today’s announcement – it is a defining moment for this truly Commonwealth city. With its rich history, cultural diversity, youthful dynamism and ambitious spirit, Birmingham embodies all that we cherish about the Commonwealth, and so the Commonwealth Sports Movement looks forward to collaborating with all the Games partners to showcase the city’s humanity and pride to a global audience over the coming months and years.”

“Today is a fantastic day for Birmingham, global Britain and our resurgent Commonwealth Sports Movement.”
Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said the city had backed itself as being able to stage the event and that faith had been rewarded.

“This is a wonderful way to end the year and an early Christmas present for the city. At the start of 2017 we were looking into the feasibility of hosting the Games in 2026, but when 2022 became a possibility in April, we made the decision to back ourselves even though we knew that we would need to do a lot of work in a short time frame. That work and belief has been rewarded,” he said.

He said despite the cost of the event – expected to be the most expensive sporting event in the UK since the London Olympics in 2012 – a united front by an alliance of stakeholders including the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Midlands Engine, the LEPs of Greater Birmingham & Solihull, the Black Country and Coventry, the NEC Group, the University of Birmingham and a host of venues, sport and cultural organisations across the Midlands would ensure the event was a success.

Around 75% of the estimated cost of the event – £750m – will come from central Government and Cllr ward said the bid team had worked closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games England to ensure success.

“The hard work begins now and we all have just four-and-a-half years to deliver an unforgettable Games that will shape the future of our city, our region and our people. Thank you for backing Birmingham’s bid,” he added.

Congratulating the city, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Karen Bradley said: “Birmingham will put on a fantastic Commonwealth Games in 2022.

“The Games will give us a chance to show the best of Britain to the world, give great opportunities to the people and businesses of the West Midlands and beyond while inspiring many to get involved in sport.”

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: “The UK has a brilliant track record for putting on the biggest sport events in the world and it is great news that Birmingham has been selected to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. I am sure that we will put on an event that will make the country proud, leave a strong sporting legacy and strengthen relationships with our friends across the Commonwealth.”

Ian Metcalfe, chair of Commonwealth Games England and who was born and bred in Birmingham, added his support by saying: “I am delighted that the Commonwealth Games Federation has awarded the 2022 Games to England and to Birmingham. In particular, I am excited for all the Team England athletes who will have the immense privilege of competing at a home Games, backed by many thousands of proud England fans.”

Around the region, there has been widespread support for the announcement.

Jason Wouhra, chairman, IoD West Midlands, said: “This is a momentous achievement for Birmingham. As one of the initial stakeholders, the IoD is very proud to see this outcome which will result in international recognition of all the great things happening in the region right now.

“The positive economic effects from the Commonwealth Games coming to the West Midlands will be beneficial for both the city and the wider area.”

Sir Lenny Henry, Chancellor, Birmingham City University, said: “Bringing the Commonwealth Games to Birmingham will help boost the profile of a city which should not just be recognised on a national scale, but deserves to be a name that resonates around the world.

“The city already boasts much of the infrastructure needed to put on an event of this size and scale, and to host the Games will be a real positive for all of us with a connection with this part of the world.”

Phil Carlin, managing director at SevenCapital and lead business advisor to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, said: “Birmingham has taken giants leaps forward over the past few years, thanks to tireless efforts by countless stakeholders and citizens alike. The Commonwealth Games will shine the spotlight right across the city, which will do wonders for its status as a world-class leisure and business destination.”

Neil Rami, chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company and member of the Games Bid Committee, said: “This is the West Midlands’ moment to make its mark. Winning the 2022 Commonwealth Games is a tremendous endorsement for Birmingham, providing the city and wider region with an unprecedented opportunity to showcase its recent resurgence and regeneration on an international stage.

“Together with the sporting and cultural legacy that hosting the Games will bring in five years’ time, the event will allow the West Midlands to build crucial trade links with Commonwealth nations and other global markets. By hosting a business expo in the period leading up to the Games, the region will show the way, as the face of modern Britain.”

Tim Pile, Chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “It is fantastic news that Birmingham is set to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, further enhancing the city region’s credentials as a truly global player. This announcement demonstrates real international confidence in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, which is attracting huge levels of investment into major infrastructure and regeneration schemes, and is undergoing significant economic growth as a result. I am positive that the Games will help continue to drive prosperity for both our people and businesses.”

Anita Bhalla, board member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LoEP and a fellow member of the Bid Committee, said: “The decision to award the 2022 Commonwealth Games to Birmingham is a tremendous boost for the region’s reputation on an international stage.

“Hosting the Games will not only showcase our expertise in delivering major events, but will also highlight the richness of our cultural heritage and the immense talent of our young, digital and diverse population. With more than 5,000 creative organisations employing 31,000 people in Greater Birmingham, the Games will provide us with a platform to display our traditional and contemporary arts scene, further enhancing regional tourism and supporting our growing economy.”

David Burbidge, chairman of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “This is wonderful news that comes hot on the heels of Coventry being named UK City of Culture 2021.

“It means this region will have two years where the world’s spotlight will be on us and that is something we are all looking forward to.

“It’s testament to the way the region has come together over the past couple of years to submit such compelling bids for UK City of Culture and the Commonwealth Games and the real winners will be the people from right across this area.”