Birmingham should expect to host the world’s great sporting events and is well placed to do so the city’s new sports chief has claimed.
Cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Coun Martin Mullaney has already confirmed that a Commonwealth Games bid is being drawn up and believes there much more to come.
With Birmingham already hosting Olympic training camps for Jamaican and American athletes, Coun Mullaney hopes there will also be on the field action through the football tournament. He is also excited at the potential of Villa Park hosting 2018 World Cup matches.
While more immediately there are the 2012 BMX World Championships and 2010 European Gymnastics championships coming to Birmingham.
Coun Mullaney, who was appointed to the job three months ago, said: “We are a global city and should expect to hold these events. We have excellent sports facilities and are ideally placed to bid for even more. There is so much to be positive about.
“Birmingham has hosted more world, European and international sporting championships than any other UK city and in a wide variety of sports.
“We went to the BMX championships in Manchester as outsiders, did a presentation and stole the 2012 world championships from under their noses.”
He added that even London Olympic supremo Lord Coe has praised the city’s efforts to play a part in the 2012 Games.
The council sports team are drawing up the proposal to stage the Commonwealth Games in either 2022 or 2026 and the majority of facilities are already in place.
The NEC and NIA would host indoor sports, the planned Olympic standard swimming and diving pool will be complete in three years, three football stadiums are also available, the Gymnastic and Martial Arts Centre at Perry Barr, while water sports could be hosted at Edgbaston Reservoir. The only fresh commitment would be to expand the Alexander Stadium to meet Games’ standards or find a new track and field venue.
Although disappointed that Villa Park will not now host Olympic football, Coun Mullaney is confident that Birmingham City could do so, it already meets the 30,000 spectators requirement, and has written to the club to offer the council’s assistance. Although with the club involved in a take over it could be a while before plans can be developed.