Liverpool has stated its interest in staging the 2022 Commonwealth Games as the current host city, Durban, seems set to withdraw over financial concerns.
Mayor Joe Anderson wrote to Sports Minister Tracey Crouch expressing the city’s intentions to apply after Commonwealth Games officials suggested another host might be needed.
Liverpool, which had been tabling a bid to stage the sporting spectacle in 2026, could now be in the reckoning much sooner.
It was in September 2015 that the event was awarded to the South African city of Durban after being the sole bidder.
However, the nation’s sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, has now stated that restrictions mean they cannot carry out the bid. He told Reuters: “We gave it our best shot but we can’t go beyond. If the country says we have no money, we can’t.”
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CFG) is due to make a decision imminently on whether to remove the current hosts. In that instance, Liverpool look ideally placed to take on the games, which were last held locally in Manchester back in 2002.
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A City Council spokesperson stated that Liverpool is willing to step in, saying: “We had heard rumours that Durban might be unable to deliver the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and have already indicated to the government that we are very willing to host them instead.”
Originally in possible competition with Birmingham for the 2026 Games, this move from Liverpool could force the West Midlands city into also applying as the CGF will be unlikely to stage back-to-back events in the same country.
However, British cities ultimately have a good opportunity to host the multi-sport festival after the CFG stated that the last Commonwealth Games hosted by Glasgow in 2014 were “the standout Games in the history of the movement”.
Glasgow 2014 cost £543m to deliver and many questions remain not only over how Liverpool would finance its bid, but also where many of the sporting events would be held – most notably without a suitable athletics venue currently in use.