Wait just a minute: Birmingham's Commonwealth Games bid back in balance
The fate of Birmingham’s, apparently unopposed, bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games could be back in the balance after the Commonwealth Games Federation today said that “further time should be given to all interested parties to enable the submission of fully compliant proposals.”
The statement followed a meeting of the CGF’s executive board, which concluded today in Colombo, Sri Lanka, having found that there is “no fully compliant bid” to host the games.
Birmingham looked certain to stage the games after it became the sole city to meet a deadline to submit a bid to take over hosting the event from Durban in South Africa, which was stripped of the event in March because it did not meet the criteria set by the CGF.
Birmingham had earlier beaten off a rival English bid from Liverpool, to be selected as the UK candidate to host the games, while possible rival bids from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Victoria in Canada and a city in Australia were not forthcoming by the time of the revised bid deadline of 30 September.
However, David Grevemberg, chief executive of the CGF, insisted on Saturday that: “There have also been continued expressions of interest and support from Canada, Malaysia and Australia.”
The CGF said last weekend that it would review Birmingham’s bid to check that it “meets the requirements of successfully hosting” the event, with a final decision on the host set to be announced by the end of the year.
But in today’s statement, Louise Martin, the CGF’s president (pictured), said: “We are also working hard to find the best possible solution to ensure a successful Games after Gold Coast [in 2018] and a continued commitment to host community legacies.
“I must congratulate the Birmingham Bid team for the work that has been undertaken in preparing a comprehensive proposal for 2022. We have carefully reviewed the bids and updates received as part of the ongoing 2022 Candidate City Process and have agreed - noting the challenging timescales and no fully compliant bid - that further time should be given to all interested parties to enable the submission of fully compliant proposals.”
The CGF added: “In special circumstances and an accelerated
timeframe, a number of Commonwealth Games Associations, Cities and Governments
mobilised to consider the opportunity of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. To
support the ongoing selection process, the CGF Executive Board resolved to
extend the deadline for receipt of fully compliant proposals to 30 November
2017 and agreed that this date should be kept under review as the process continues
to move forward with the nations and territories involved.”
Birmingham’s budget for staging the games is at least £750 million ($1 billion), of which £500 million will come from central government. The budget would make it the most expensive event to be held in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic Games.
A key part of Birmingham 2022’s pledge to the CGF is to deliver a “low cost, low risk, high quality games,” with 95 per cent of necessary competition venues already in place. An aquatics centre is the sole venue that would need to be built.
Birmingham 2022 today played down the apparent setback, saying: “Birmingham worked closely with the DCMS [the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] to present a compelling and low risk bid for the city to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. This was delivered within a very tight, but pre-agreed timeframe because of the proximity of the 2022 Games and this was communicated to all interested parties. We expected a period of discussion and negotiation with the CGF following submission and we await further clarification from the CGF about the next steps.”
Paul Blanchard, the chief executive of Commonwealth Games England, added: “We are confident that Birmingham's bid demonstrates that the city has the ability to stage a fantastic Commonwealth Games in 2022. It was a huge effort to put such a comprehensive bid together in such a short timescale. We've always said that even though Birmingham was the only city to submit a bid there would still be a few hurdles to clear before a decision was made on formally awarding the Games. As was always planned, we will be working with the Commonwealth Games Federation closely over the coming weeks to demonstrate that Birmingham would stage a world class Commonwealth Games in 2022.”
Birmingham’s bid was chosen to represent the UK above a rival one from Liverpool and Joe Anderson, Liverpool’s mayor, reacted angrily today to the news that the Birmingham bid had been rated not fully compliant, saying: “Our bid was compliant, so there are definitely questions to be asked of DCMS about how a non-compliant bid was allowed to be submitted.
“This was the government’s chosen bid for the international competition and we always believed that Liverpool’s transformational and exciting bid would be more successful at that level with the Commonwealth Games Federation.”Sportcal