Nicky Roche is chairing the independent assessment panel ©LinkedIn

UK Sport non-executive director Nicky Roche and Commonwealth Games England (CGE) chief executive Paul Blanchard are among the officials on the six-person independent assessment panel overseeing a potential bid for the 2022 event, it has been revealed.

Roche chairs a panel, which officially confirmed today that Birmingham and Liverpool had progressed to the final phase of the Government's selection process.

Roche was formerly Director of Operations, Government Olympic Executive, supporting British Ministers on the operational side of the delivery of London 2012. 

Prior to this Roche was Director of Sport and main Board member for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) where she drove the implementation of Government strategy on public participation in sport.

It also includes Jan Paterson, the British Olympic Association's director of Olympic relations, and Sport England property director Charles Johnston.

The other two members of the panel, which will make a recommendation to the Government on their preferred candidate for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in "early September", are Ian McKenzie and David Brooker.

McKenzie, an architect and Director of McKenzie Sports Architecture, was head of Venue and Village Development and Integration at Glasgow 2014.

Brooker was most recently the director of sport at the DCMS and served as the Director of Legacy at the Government Olympic Executive during London 2012.

The panel have conducted visits to Birmingham and Liverpool in recent weeks, along with representatives of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and DCMS officials.

They claim the current planning of the two cities "demonstrates sufficient merit that both cities be given the opportunity to further develop their proposals over the coming weeks".

Birmingham and Liverpool "have sufficiently developed a clear initial vision as to how they would construct a compelling games programme which meets CGF requirements and which would leave a legacy for their city, the region and the UK", the panel said.

Further work on the cost, practicability and delivery of their plans will now be undertaken before both cities submit final proposals to the DCMS in August.

Birmingham or Liverpool will then be put forward as England's candidate for the 2022 Games, stripped from Durban in March by the CGF after the South African city failed to meet a series of financial deadlines.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said she was encouraged by the commitment and enthusiasm that both Birmingham and Liverpool have demonstrated so far ©Getty Images
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said she was encouraged by the commitment and enthusiasm that both Birmingham and Liverpool have demonstrated so far ©Getty Images

"It is right that a proper and rigorous assessment is carried out before we decide if a formal bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is submitted," Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said.

"I’ve been encouraged by the commitment and enthusiasm that both Birmingham and Liverpool have demonstrated so far in the process but it will be crucial that their final plans demonstrate good value for money, how they would leave a lasting legacy and showcase the best of Britain.

"We have a great track record of hosting the biggest events in sport in the UK and I am sure that if we were to host the Games in 2022 the British people would give a warm welcome to the world and get right behind the event."

Both cities have already undergone an inspection from the Government as the Commonwealth Games Delivery Unit (CGDU), established by the DCMS and led by Nick Pontefract, formerly the senior civil servant responsible for sport for the Government, visited them earlier this month.

Birmingham's bid includes extensive renovation work to the existing Alexander Stadium, the home of UK Athletics which has has been a host of International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League athletics meetings.

It would stage athletics and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Villa Park, one of the most famous football stadiums in England which is home to Championship club Aston Villa, the NEC Arena and a brand-new aquatics facility in Sandwell are other key venues in their concept.

The Bid Committee have drip-fed information regarding their bid, while Liverpool unveiled their whole plan in one go in June.

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.

"Birmingham and Liverpool have two fantastic sets of plans and either city would stage a Games to remember for athletes and spectators alike," said Blanchard. 

"There is still a huge amount of work to be done by both Government and the cities themselves but what we have seen so far promises some very exciting times ahead."

The CGF have not revealed exactly when the host city for 2022 will be chosen although an announcement is expected in early November.

CGF chief executive David Grevemberg said in April that they had hoped to complete the process by mid-summer.

As well as Birmingham and Liverpool, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Victoria in Canada and Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia have expressed an interest in hosting the Games.

Their respective Commonwealth Games Associations have until September 30 to submit a formal bid to the CGF.

A review team, made up of CGF officials and international experts, is expected to review the merits of each bid in October.

Cities will then be given the chance to put their case to the CGF before a city is selected the following month.