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Birmingham enters race for 2026 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham has become the second English city to join the race to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, after Liverpool last month also announced plans to submit a bid.

The proposed bid has the backing of Birmingham City Council, which said that the Games could generate more than £390m (€450.5m/$505.4m) for the local economy.

Venues that could be used to host events should the city be successful in its bid include Villa Park, home of English Championship second-tier football club Aston Villa, the Alexander Stadium athletics facility, Edgbaston Cricket Ground and the National Exhibition Centre.

Birmingham, which will now conduct a feasibility study and form an organising committee for the bid, in 2018 will host the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Athletics Championships. The city is also due to host the International Cricket Council’s Champions Trophy next year.

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, which has also declared its support for the bid, added: “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.”

Last month, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson announced that the city would place a bid for the 2026 Games. Wales had also been considering a bid for the multi-sport event, but withdrew its interest due to “financial uncertainty” in the wake of the Brexit vote earlier this year.

Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and Edmonton in Canada have also shown an interest in bidding for the 2026 Games. Candidates must declare their intention to bid by March 2018, with organisers due to announce a host city in November 2019.