Council leader ‘uncertain’ on future of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The future of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will leave a legacy for Birmingham – even if it becomes another victim of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to city council leader Ian Ward.

Ward said that because of the ongoing pandemic, the Games could have to be postponed or cancelled altogether if a new variant becomes known – however, he is working on the assumption that they will go ahead.

The event, which is to take place between July 28 and August 8 next year, could attract millions of visitors who, it is estimated, would spend £1bn in the city.

However, plans to scrap the athletes’ village in Birmingham were announced last year, with organisers of the Games saying it wouldn’t be ready in time.

When asked by regional councillors if the Games were certain to go ahead, Ward said:  “We are all working on the assumption at the moment that the Commonwealth Games are going to go ahead, in spite of what is happening around the world with the pandemic.

“Indeed, let’s recall that the Games are to be delivered in July of 2022, that’s when the opening ceremony will take place. The vaccine should have well and truly been rolled out around this country by then, so we should all be vaccinated and be able to go about a more normal existence than we are at this time.

“Even if the Games were not to go ahead, this has a very strong legacy element for Birmingham and the wider region.

“Whatever happens, and we can’t be certain what is going to happen going forward. Indeed, the Olympic Games that were postponed to the summer of this year are now looking in some doubt again – so we can’t be certain and who knows what will happen next?

“There may be another variant to the virus, and we are all placed back to square one.

“I’m going to take an optimistic view and optimistically look to the future and the hosting of the Commonwealth Games as a benefit not just for Birmingham but the whole of the region, but this scheme in particular (Perry Barr rail station) will have a legacy for Birmingham, the Black Country and the people that live in those areas.”

It was reported last week that the Toyko Olympic Games, to be held this summer, could be scrapped because of the ongoing global battle against Covid.