West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and the chairman of Birmingham’s bid have welcomed the decision to appoint the city as England’s candidate to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The landmark decision brings the prospect of Birmingham hosting a major international event another step closer and now Games authorities, the Government and the Birmingham bid team will be working to ensure the final bid is as strong as possible and provides good value for the taxpayer.
The bid has brought together the city’s business, sporting and council leaders and beat Liverpool to win the Government’s backing.
Bid committee chairman Ian Ward said: “This is a great endorsement by the UK Government of Birmingham’s credentials to host the Games and recognition of the city’s resolve to deliver a memorable event.
“We appreciate that it was a very close decision and that Liverpool pushed us all the way with a very compelling proposal. This is not the end of the journey and we look forward to working with the Government as it makes its final decision to support a UK Candidate City.”
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street stressed that a successful games would be good for the whole region, not just Birmingham and said: “The regional support of the Midlands was a key determining factor and I want to thank all those regional agencies and organisations that have worked hard over the last six months to get us to this position. We will make the Commonwealth proud.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson tweeted his disappointment his city has lost, but added: "Congratulations and good luck Birmingham wish you well."
Paul Faulkner , chief executive of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and a member of the bid committee, said: “It is brilliant news that the government have chosen Birmingham over Liverpool to be the UK’s candidate city to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“It has been a long, hard contest so far and it is great that we have got the nod to go forward.
“The race isn’t over yet – we have still got to compete against a few other cities across the Commonwealth to host the Games in 2022.
“But this is a huge step forward. It is a massive vote of confidence from the government in Birmingham and in the whole region.”
Neil Rami, head of the Visit Birmingham tourism, said this was fantastic news for the city and region. “Birmingham has enjoyed a 17 per cent increase in domestic tourists and a 52 per cent rise in overseas guests since 2011. We anticipate the Games alone to add at least a ten per cent increase to our record-breaking visitor numbers.
“Winning this stage of the process confirms what we’ve known for a long time – Birmingham and the West Midlands are world-class sporting destinations, which provide an outstanding welcome for its millions of sports fans.”
The bid has been supported by the NEC Group, Aston Villa, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, UK Athletics and University of Birmingham who will also provide host venues for events. It also backed by the region’s business development agencies, the Local Enterprise Partnerships, the West Midlands Combined Authority and the city council.
Cllr John Clancy , leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “This is great news for Birmingham and the West Midlands, and I’d like to thank Cllr Ian Ward and his team for all of their hard work in putting together the bid.
“We now have a golden opportunity to convince the Government that Birmingham can deliver the best ever Commonwealth Games in 2022, and that is exactly what we intend to do.”