By Duncan Mackay
February 16 - Cardiff has officially admitted that they plan to launch a bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games by setting out a "road map" of international events it wants to host to show its capabilities.
Cardiff City Council plans to launch Commonwealth Games planning team that will undertake an an audit of South Wales' sports assets and infrastructure necessary for a successful bid, which they estimate would cost £530 million.
Consultants Arup have, meanwhile, been appointed by the Welsh Government to carry out a study into potential Games venues, including the Millennium Stadium, a host city for football during London 2012 but which would be the proposed venue for the athletics.
Other proposals include a temporary tank at the Cardiff Sports Village to stage aquatics, rowing in Cardiff Bay and canoeing and kayaking at the Cardiff International White Water Centre.
Any bid, though, will be dependent on it being able to help drive forward the regeneration of the Welsh capital, as Manchester did when they hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and what Glasgow are doing in the build-up to next year's edition.
"When we look at major events, particularly in the current economic climate, we cannot afford luxuries anymore," said Huw Thomas, the Councillor at Cardiff City Council with responsibility for sport‚ leisure and culture.
"We need a major events strategy driven by regeneration.
"The Commonwealth Games would have fantastic potential to deliver that.
"Just look at what is happening in Glasgow right now.
"If the city is serious about hosting it in 13 years' time we need a road map setting out how we do that and what sort of events we need to attract to show our capability of hosting these kind of events.
"We need to move on from the two-bob events of the past that deliver questionable value, we need to concentrate on events that will project Cardiff on a global scale and deliver real jobs and investment."
Cardiff last hosted the event, when it was known as the Empire Games, in 1958.
A total of 1,122 athletes from 35 countries took part in ten sports.
At Glasgow next year nearly 7,000 athletes from 72 countries are due to take part in 17 sports.
"As we saw in London and seeing in Glasgow, it can be an incredible boom for communities that have not seen real investment possibly ever," said Thomas.
"I think it can invigorate not just the whole city, but the whole region.
"If these Games are to be a success the region will be a major part of them."
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December 2011: Government backs potential Cardiff 2026 Commonwealth Games bid
February 2011: Cardiff targeting 2026 Commonwealth Games
November 2009: Coe backs Cardiff Commonwealth Games bid
October 2009: Cardiff planning to launch bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games