The redevelopment of Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium ahead of the 2022 Commonweath Games has been delayed until April of that year, organisers have announced, leaving just three months between the scheduled completion date and the opening ceremony.
The £72m (€85.5m/$94.3m) revamp was approved in January this year and will see the venue quadrupled in size for the duration of the Games, from the current 12,700 to a temporary capacity of over 40,000. The permanent seating capacity will increase to 18,000 after the Games have ended.
Construction of the new stand began as planned earlier year, and Birmingham City Council has said that the work remains on schedule and on budget.
However, the minutes from last month’s council meeting, released in response to questions from local councillors, have revealed that the expected date of completion for the project is now April 1, 2022, having slipped from the original target of “late 2021”.
Jon Hunt, councillor for Perry Barr, the area in which the Alexander Stadium is located, has described the time frame as “very risky”, according to the Birmingham Mail, adding: “They should scale back the work and abandon the unnecessary roadworks at Perry Barr. I was surprised they decided to keep it to 2022 but if that is the plan, they need to put an end to the overreach.” Hunt has been an outspoken critic of the plans to demolish the nearby Perry Barr flyover as part of the wider urban redevelopment plan.
Additionally, the council has warned that the £584m Athletes’ Village project could miss its deadline of March 31, saying in a statement that “a detailed analysis of the impact of Covid-19 is being undertaken in collaboration with partners”.
While the Commonwealth Games has been largely unaffected so far by the Covid-19 pandemic – its start and end dates have been delayed by 24 hours to avoid clashes with other events – the CGF’s chief executive David Grevemberg told SportBusiness last month that he expects some disruption due to the postponement of the Olympic Games.
“Pushing the Olympics into 2021 is like trying to fit the Titanic into a Tesco carpark,” said Grevemberg. “Unless we want the cars to get damaged, we’re going to need to move them around. So it’s about minimising disruption rather than pretending you’re not going to get any disruption, and working and collaborating with all relevant parties to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.”