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Business leaders back Commonwealth Games bid

30 September 2016

Birmingham’s business community today threw its weight behind the city’s bid to stage the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

The city announced this morning that they had decided to officially enter the race to host the Games and those looking to bring the global sporting event to the city are calling on the entire region to get behind the bid.

The initiative has the full support of Birmingham City Council, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, the West Midlands Combined Authority and Midlands Engine and is recognised as being the potential to generate in excess of £390 million GVA for the local economy, create thousands of jobs and catapult the region onto the global stage.

And Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GFBCC), said: “The business community in Greater Birmingham will fully support this initiative. It would present a huge range of opportunities for all businesses and the bid itself will bring a focus on Birmingham at a time when it is driving its importance on the global stage.

“We already have a great track record in delivering huge sporting events, including the World Indoor Athletics Championships (Barclaycard Arena), ICC Champions Trophy (Edgbaston), Davis Cup tennis (Barclaycard Arena), the British Basketball League Finals (Barclaycard Arena), the All England Open Badminton Championships (Barclaycard Arena), the Rugby World Cup (South Africa/Australia at Villa Park) and championship boxing (Barclaycard Arena).

“We greatly look forward to actively supporting the bid, in which they will be competing with other cities, believed to include Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, Edmonton in Canada and Liverpool.”

Cllr John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is a fantastic sporting city and we have proven ourselves to be warm, welcoming and friendly hosts to a number of international events in recent years. In addition to the huge economic impact, these events showcase the very best of our city and wider region to the world.

"I hope that we get to do that yet again in 2026 and you can be sure the Games would be a huge success in Birmingham.”

Steve Hollis, deputy and interim chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, said: “Greater Birmingham is perfectly poised to welcome the thousands of sports fans and athletes for the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

“We are one of the most connected regions in the world with unrivalled transport links, accommodation, world-class venues and entertainment. Unlike other cities considering bidding, we already have significant infrastructure in place and HS2 is also set to be operational from 2026.

“Working collaboratively across the public and private sector has been the cornerstone of our economic success – and it’s that spirit that gives us a great chance of bringing the Games to Birmingham.”

Bob Sleigh, chairman of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “The Combined Authority’s involvement can make for an even stronger bid as it opens up the possibility of using incredible facilities such as The Hawthorns in West Bromwich or the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.”

Sir John Peace, chairman of the Midlands Engine, said: “The Commonwealth Games is an incredible opportunity to showcase the Midlands region, one of the largest economic areas outside of London, with the largest population, sitting at the crossroads of Britain. The Games will not only attract interest in the region, but will also provide legacy investment opportunities long after the last race is won.”

Birmingham City Council will now commission a full feasibility study and form the Commonwealth Games 2026 bid organising committee to progress the city and region’s ambition to host this high-profile event.

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