A team from the British Government will today begin inspecting Liverpool's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a vital step in deciding which city England will put forward to replace Durban.
The Commonwealth Games Delivery Unit (CGDU), established by the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport and led by Nick Pontefract, formerly the senior civil servant responsible for sport for the Government, will conduct a two-day visit to the city in the north west of England.
They will be assisted by Commonwealth Games England (CGE) and its chief Paul Blanchard.
Liverpool, along with Birmingham, are one of two cities who have confirmed they want to replace Durban, stripped of the Commonwealth Games in March after they failed to satisfy financial guarantees.
The CGDU will be shown round Liverpool by Brian Barwick, the former chairman of the Football Association and head of sport at BBC Television, who is leading the bid.
The centrepiece of Liverpool's campaign is the riverside regeneration of the city’s Bramley-Moore Dock, the proposed site for Premier League Everton’s new stadium and where a temporary athletics track would be laid during the Games.
A floating swimming pool is another key part of Liverpool's bid.
The 50 metre pool structure, with seating for 5,000 spectators, would be built on the water near Albert Dock.
Anfield, home of five-time European Cup winners Liverpool, would host the rugby sevens and Everton's current stadium Goodison Park would be the venue for the boxing events.
Manchester, who successfully hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002, will provide the venue for cycling and cricket.
It is estimated that £547 million ($708 million/€623 million) will be funded by public sector to help pay for the Games.
Liverpool City Council will contribute £137 million ($177 million/€156 million) of that but expects to generate income from its investments to fund the cost.
The CGDU, formed in May to oversee bids from British cities wanting to replace Durban, will be seeking re-assurances that it is possible to install and remove a 400m running track at Bramley-Moore Dock in less than three-and-a-half months.
Liverpool 2022 are claiming they can build the track at the end of the 2021-2022 football season and take it out by the start of the following 2022-2023 season.
It took Hampden Park more than a year to conduct the same operation for Glasgow 2014.
The CGDU and CGE are expected to visit Birmingham next week and recommend a city in August to put forward to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)
"An English Commonwealth Games in 2022 would represent an amazing opportunity for a host city, for English athletes and for the country as a whole," said Blanchard.
"The initial plans from Birmingham and Liverpool show that England has the potential to host a superb Commonwealth Games in 2022.
"We will be working closely with Government over the coming months to ensure that any decision is taken in the best interest of the cities and the UK as a whole."
Besides Birmingham and Liverpool, Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, host of the 1998 Commonwealth Games, is among the locations to have expressed firm interest in stepping in to replace Durban.
Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in Australia have also revealed they may be interested, while Victoria in Canada announced earlier this month that it will bid.
The CGF are due to choose a host city in autumn.