Birmingham set to be named as 2026 European Athletics Championships host city

Budapest has withdrawn its bid to host the 2026 European Athletics Championships, leaving Birmingham as the only candidate to be named as the host city – hoping to build on the success of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Guardian has reported that the UK’s first European Athletics Championships could be confirmed as early as Friday.

For Birmingham, it’s estimated that hosting the event at the Alexander Stadium would deliver around £34m in economic benefits to the region, with £12m of the event budget expected to be used on local suppliers and businesses. Around 2,900 volunteers would be needed, which could reengage volunteers who participated in the Commonwealth Games. There would also be around 1,332 hours of live television coverage, with a media value of £26.35m.

When the bids were revealed in June, European Athletics CEO Christian Milz said the 2026 event would be organised as a stand-alone event, unlike the multi-sport format used at Glasgow, Berlin and Munich.

He said in a statement: “The involvement and cooperation with the host member federation is especially important for European Athletics at our major events and we believe being independent, as the European Athletics Championships were until 2016, will strengthen this relationship as well as help create a special athletics experience for the competitors, athletics fans, and every other stakeholder in our sport, such as commercial partners, and provide enhanced international visibility and profile”.

However, The Guardian has reported today (10 November) that European Championships Management (ECM), which manages and coordinates the multi-sport event, is planning a separate competition away from Birmingham.