London set to bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games to capitalise on Olympic facilities
Monday, 18 March 2013
March 18 - London is set to launch a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, according to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson's Olympic legacy adviser.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games has started to emerge as a real option for the city with the majority of facilities in place following the Olympics and Paralympics.
The UK will host the Commonwealth Games next year with Glasgow 2014 while the Gold Coast in Australia will stage the 2018 edition of the Commonwealth Games.
Key figures including Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, UK Sport chair Baroness Sue Campbell and Sport England chief executive Jenny Price have already backed a potential bid and now the Mayor's Olympic legacy adviser Neale Coleman has said a bid is likely to be forthcoming.
"Looking ahead, one possibility is that [the 2022 Commonwealth Games]," Coleman told ITV News.
"We haven't had a Commonwealth Games in London for a very, very long time, it is a fantastic event, it brings people together in a unique way and we do have the facilities there that would make a bid for that possible.
"So I think it is something that is in our minds at the moment.
"We would need broad support obviously.
"We would need the Government to think it is a good idea."
London last hosted the event in 1934 - when they were still called the British Empire Games - but that was a much smaller event than it is now.
Only 500 athletes from 17 countries, including the Irish Free State, took part in 68 events.
The venues included the White City Stadium, which had hosted the 1908 Olympics,and the Empire Pool at Wembley, although the cycling had to be held at Fallowfield Stadium in Manchester because of the lack of a suitable venue in London.
On that occasion London did not bid for the Games but were given them because the original choice, Johannesburg, was stripped of the event amid concerns of concerns about the way South Africa would treat black and Asian athletes.
Government backing for any bid from London is likely, with Robertson having said he is keen to bring the event to London.
"The Commonwealth Games are obviously in Glasgow in 2014 and then it is the Gold Coast in 2018 so the next bidding possibility is 2022," Robertson told insidethegames last year.
"On that issue, we would first have to look at who is bidding for it.
"I am a huge supporter of the Commonwealth Games and have been involved in several Commonwealth Sports Ministers meetings.
"So I would love to see the Commonwealth Games come here.
"But with the Commonwealth Games, the same sort of logic applies as it does with the Olympics in that it is an event that moves around the world.
"I think there will be quite a lot of countries that might look at a Commonwealth Games bid as a way of teeing up a future Olympic bid."
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), whose headquarters are based in the capital, have indicated they would very much welcome a bid from the city after being hugely impressed by London 2012.
England last staged the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 in one of the most successful editions of the event in history.
Birmingham and Sheffield have both expressed an interest in bidding for the 2022 Commonwealth Games but should London move for the event, it is unlikely that any other bid would be able to match them in terms of technical infrastructure, although the international bidding process will not officially begin until 2014.
Any successful bid from London would also almost certainly end any hopes that Cardiff has of staging the Commonwealth Games in 2026.
Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and Sri Lanka are other countries currently considering bids for 2022, but it remains to be seen if they will put forward formal proposals to the CGF when the process opens.
February 2013: Exclusive UK Sport chair would back London bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games
December 2012: Exclusive - Support growing for London 2022 Commonwealth Games bid
November 2012: Exclusive - I would love the Olympics to return to London soon, says Sports Minister