Tracey Crouch has backed calls for shooting to be included on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games programme ©YouTube

British Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has backed calls for shooting to be included at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham but warned there were challenges which need to be overcome if the sport is to feature on the programme.

Crouch revealed during debate in the House of Commons that she was "exploring with Games partners the potential for including shooting".

She admitted, however, that the decision was beyond her remit and that there were cost and logistical hurdles.

Shooting, an optional Commonwealth Games sport, was not included by Birmingham 2022 after organisers cited a lack of a suitable venue nearby.

The decision sparked controversy and a furious response from the shooting world as the sport has featured at eveery Commonwealth Games since Kingston 1966, with the exception of Edinburgh 1970.

Supporters of the sport's inclusion claim, however, that Bisley Shooting Ground in Woking would be able to host events at the Games and is closer to Birmingham than the Velodrome on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, where track cycling will take place.

Crouch admitted during the debate that satellite accommodation near the venue was one of the Government's main concerns and the cost of housing athletes there may be too high.

She declared, though, the Government "supports the notion of shooting being included" and vowed they would "work with partners to overcome logistical challenges, if required".

Shooting was not included as part of the Birmingham 2022 sports programme ©Getty Images
Shooting was not included as part of the Birmingham 2022 sports programme ©Getty Images

"We are looking at the issue and, as I said at the outset, the Secretary of State and I both support the inclusion of shooting, but as core partners in the delivery of the Commonwealth Games, we must ensure we deliver a cost-effective Games," said Crouch.

"These are not necessarily challenges that we cannot overcome, but they are challenges."

The debate followed Indian Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore urging the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock to ensure shooting was included on the programme.

"There were a whole host of positive comments made by the Minister in a conversation that included the history success of home nations, potential venue options, medal opportunities and equality," read a statement from British Shooting.

"Although the Minister did explain that it is beyond her remit to reverse any decision surrounding the inclusion of shooting sport in Birmingham.

"Having observed the debate with great interest, British Shooting now hopes the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), Birmingham’s Organising Committee and the International Shooting Sport Federation will be able to find a successful solution to including shooting sports in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games."

In response to the debate, Birmingham 2022 said: "Any changes to the agreed sports programme, such as the addition of shooting or indeed any other optional sport or discipline as defined in the CGF constitution, would need to be scoped, costed and agreed by the Games Partners, before being recommended for approval to the CGF."