November 6 -  A $1 billion (£570 million) bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games from the Gold Coast has made a big step closer after Event Knowledge Services (EKS), who had been carrying out an audit, gave it a positive report, the city's Mayor Ron Clarke (pictured) said today.


EKS, a Swiss company who provides a full suite of consulting services and knowledge transfer support across the total event landscape, investigated whether the Gold Coast had the capabilities to host the Games across a range of areas, including transport, security, accommodation, venues and finances.


The five-person EKS technical review team has spent the past week staying in Brisbane and travelling to the Gold Coast.


The members held a private briefing for key Commonwealth Games bid stakeholders today.


Clarke said: "They have come here and we've come out with a near-perfect report card.


"They told me that the city has a lot going for it, especially in the accommodation sector.


"Our infrastructure already accommodates for 60-100,000 at any time of the year through our tourism industry.


"We have much bigger flexibility compared to other cities."


During their visit to Queensland, the EKS staff visited Carrara stadium, Southport Olympic pool, Skilled Park, Belmont shooting range, indoor venues in north Queensland, Broadbeach Bowls Club and the Gold Coast Convention and Entertainment Centre.


Clarke, a former world record holder for the 10,000 metres and winner of four medals at three Commonwealth Games, said a decision on whether Gold Coast will bid would be finalised at an Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) meeting before Christmas.


If it is endorsed, a final submission would be made early next year.


Clarke said: "We've got the scope to put on a great show.


"I've been involved in three Commonwealth Games and I am already picturing the marathon and triathlon showcasing our great city."


Perry Crosswhite, the chief executive of the ACGA, was positive about a potential bid from the Gold Coast to follow Glasgow, which is hosting the 2014 Games, claiming it would have "a very good chance" of winning if the Australian Government provided financial and logistical support.


Queensland Premier Anna Bligh last month visited New Delhi, the site of the 2010 Games, to meet senior officials from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).


If it bids, the Gold Coast would be expected to be up against Abuja in Nigeria, Auckland in New Zealand and Durban in South Africa.


The CGF is due to choose the host city for 2018 at its meeting in St Kitts and Nevis in November 2011.



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