Liverpool, Everton and the city of Manchester have joined forces in an effort to bring the 2022 Commonwealth Games to Merseyside – with the Goodison club’s proposed £300 million new stadium the centre-piece of the bid.
The Bramley Moore dock arena, which will be the subject of a planning application shortly, would include an athletics track should the city’s bid be successful, although city leaders insist that will be a temporary measure for the duration of the Games.
Anfield would host the rugby sevens, while Goodison Park itself would be the venue for the boxing events. Manchester, who successfully hosted the Games in 2002, will provide the venue for cycling and cricket.
Liverpool stepped forward as a potential host after Durban pulled out for financial reasons earlier this year. Birmingham has put forward rival proposals to ensure the Games take place in the UK.
Liverpool 2022 Bid Chairman is the former FA Chief Executive Brian Barwick. He says Everton’s new stadium would be the focal point of the Games.
“Liverpool is a world-class city and what we have unveiled today is truly transformational,” said Barwick.
“We are utilising our existing, world-class venues such as ACC Liverpool, Anfield, St George’s Hall and Goodison Park, as well as facilities linked to the massive regeneration that is already taking place in the Bramley-Moore Dock area that would be home to the athletes village. Some of the other eye catching plans, such as the dynamic new pool in the docks and the creative approach to working with Everton FC’s new state of art stadium will set the bar for how major Games leave a real and tangible legacy.
“We are also being transformational in how we present sports such as athletics, by bringing some of the jumping events to spectacular locations in our docks. "Through a creative partnership with our North West neighbour Manchester we are able to host T20 cricket and track cycling in world class facilities. This plan is both compelling and deliverable and will be amazing for the athletes, the spectators and the Commonwealth - and crucially is designed to leave Liverpool transformed.”
Everton have expressed cautious optimism on their stadium bid since their intentions to leave Goodison were confirmed last March.
The club’s chief executive Robert Elstone said the architects currently working on the stadium designs will ensure the arena is suitable for both football and athletics. Everton will be well aware of the controversy surrounding West Ham’s move from London’s Olympic Stadium – now the London Stadium – but they have sought to reassure supporters there will be no negative impact.
“From the outset, our designers were tasked with developing an atmospheric and intimate stadium for our fans, attributes we know the City Council wishes to replicate for the Commonwealth Games,” said Elstone.
“Having seen the work to date, we are confident that our teams will find that solution - a stadium that will meet the needs of the football club and provide a venue for a world-class Commonwealth Games Athletics programme.
“Significant progress is being made at Bramley Moore Dock and we are fully focused on the delivery of an iconic stadium which will complement and enhance the city’s world-famous waterfront and deliver much-needed regeneration benefits to north Liverpool.”
"Liverpool Football Club is delighted to support the Council's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Our great city has a unique passion for sport and we would be proud to welcome the Commonwealth to Anfield Stadium," said Moore.
The Games will cost around £672 million, but Liverpool City Council anticipate the regeneration of the dockside will accelerate £1bn of investment and create more than 12,000 jobs.
Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City Council Leader, said: “Manchester is delighted to be supporting Liverpool’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. With the hugely successful Games our city held in 2002, and given the elite sporting venues we currently have in Manchester, we are pleased to be able to assist Liverpool in its quest to deliver an inclusive, innovative and inspiring Games for the Commonwealth.”
The City of Liverpool submitted its Preliminary Phase Questionnaire to the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 16 June 2017 as part of the ongoing candidate city assessment process.
First published www.telegraph.co.uk, written by Chris Bascombe 16 June 2017