Birmingham has been chosen over Liverpool for England’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has backed the West Midlands city which would have to convince the Commonwealth Games Federation it should stage the event.
However, it must first be decided whether to go ahead with a formal bid.
Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia likely to be the main rival after Durban was stripped of the event in March.
The South African city originally won the bidding process in 2015 but the Commonwealth Games Federation was not convinced it could successfully host the event and started a new search for a host city.
Both Birmingham and Liverpool expressed early interest and put together competing bids.
Birmingham’s proposal to create the UK’s largest permanent athletics stadium supplemented by four indoor arenas was central to its bid.
Having settled on Birmingham rather than Liverpool, the government must now decide whether to actually proceed with the bid and properly commit to it – something it will need to confirm in the next month.
The cost of hosting would be an estimated £500m-£680m, with 75% coming from the Treasury and 25% needing to come from Birmingham City Council. This would be the biggest sum to be spent on staging a sports event in England since the £8.9bn on the 2012 Olympics in London.
There would also need to be a contingency fund of about £100m. Ticket sales and sponsorship would also be expected to bring in at least £120m.
This expenditure won’t be without controversy given Birmingham’s recent bin workers’ strike dispute and concerns over the cost of Brexit – but some experts say the economic benefits of hosting the event will cover the costs.