16 Jan 2024

European Athletics Championships to receive further funding


The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) approved an extra £600,000 of funding towards the cost of hosting the 2026 European Athletics Championships (EAC) in the West Midlands.

The WMCA Board also reaffirmed a £13.7 million contribution towards the staging of the EAC from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Enhancement Fund, £3 million of which had originally been earmarked for grassroots sports.

All EAC partners, including the WMCA, have been asked to consider whether they can make further contributions to bridge a £2.2m shortfall in the delivery budget.

The WMCA has been working closely with the UK Government and wider partners to secure additional funding with the Government also now agreeing to commit up to £680,000.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA Board, said: “The 2026 European Athletics Championships is a major event for our region as a whole and the biggest since the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“We know from previous experience that these high-profile events do deliver positive impact - bringing in valuable investment and creating local jobs – and it’s important we build on the success of the Commonwealth Games to continue to establish the West Midlands as a leading location for major sporting events.”

Sports minister Stuart Andrew said: "This is brilliant news for Birmingham's status as a host of major sporting events. By working together, the Government, West Midlands Combined Authority and wider partners are providing the additional certainty to enable for the region to welcome the 2026 European Athletics Championships.

“Having successfully delivered the record-breaking Commonwealth Games in 2022, the Championships will deliver an estimated £30 million economic boost for the city.”

At the board meeting, the Mayor moved an amendment to instruct the WMCA finance director to see whether it would be possible to find the £3 million intended for grassroots sports initiatives from alternative WMCA funding streams to ensure community and grassroots organisations do not miss out.

The Mayor added: “It’s really important that major events like this leave a lasting legacy for residents. That’s why I’ve asked my team to ensure they strain every sinew to protect grassroots and community funding. My support for the European Athletics Championships still going ahead was contingent on this amendment.”

The 2026 European Athletics Championships will be the first time a British city has hosted the event and is expected to bring 120,000 spectators to the West Midlands.

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