Wales

Wales aims for joint bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games

Welsh athletes Aled Sion Davies, Jazz Carlin and Geraint Thomas Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wales celebrated a record medal haul at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Wales wants to help another British city stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games - then build "sustainable community" venues for a games bid after 2030.

The Commonwealth Games Foundation (CGF) has said it would consider a joint bid for the 2022 Games after Durban was stripped as host city in March.

The UK government has asked interested British cities to submit 2022 plans.

The Welsh Government said it was in "discussions" with interested UK bidding cities to host events in 2022.

Liverpool, Birmingham, London and Manchester have expressed an interest in stepping in to host the 2022 Games.

The Welsh Government blamed potential cost of up £1.5bn for not bidding for the 2026 Games - but now wants to help a partner city and host some of the periphery events at the 2022 Games.

Image caption Wales staged The Empire Games in Cardiff in 1958

"No single city has all of the facilities ready to go apart from London, Glasgow or perhaps Manchester," Economy Secretary Ken Skates said.

"But those cities have only recently held either the Commonwealths or Olympics.

"For 2022, as we will be exiting the European Union, it is a good opportunity to do something different.

"We could examine the potential of a British or multi-city bid that would give Wales a potential role in that Commonwealth Games.

"A wider bid would be good for us as we wouldn't have to invest in facilities that might not be sustainable and it could happen without having to divert huge resources to building new facilities.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A Wales Commonwealths bid is likely to use Cardiff's Principality Stadium and National Velodrome in Newport

"Discussions with Commonwealth Games Wales and other cities are taking place, there's huge potential to do something innovative in 2022 and I look forward to taking those discussions further."

Wales, which held the Empire Games in Cardiff in 1958, does not have the infrastructure to host the blue ribbon Commonwealth Games events of athletics, swimming and track cycling in 2022 as current facilities would need significant investment and upgrading.

The Welsh Government wants to stage sports like cycling's road race, triathlon, rowing, sailing or open water swimming in 2022 to "fit in with Wales' great outdoors unique selling point".

It is now working towards a multi-city Welsh bid post 2030 after being criticised by Plaid Cymru and Conservatives for not wanting to host the Commonwealths in 2026, a move that Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies called "pathetic."

One city departure

The Welsh Government blamed estimated infrastructure cost of between £1.3bn and £1.5bn - a figure disputed by the CGF who said the Glasgow 2014 Games were "operationally delivered for £543m".

Mr Skates has now said there are proposals drawn-up of a "longer-term investment strategy" to "build suitable sustainable facilities for the community rather than just the games" for a multi-city Welsh bid from 2030, a move away from the traditional "one host city" model.

Chris Jenkins, chief executive of Commonwealth Games Wales, said: "We received fantastic support and encouragement from the games family and the CGF as this would encourage many other countries to consider bidding as we moved away from a single city."

Wales' plan is would be to hold events across south Wales with Cardiff's Principality Stadium as the centrepiece and home to the showpiece athletics events.

Wales' National Pool in Swansea and Wales' National Velodrome in Newport would need to be upgraded and expanded to cope with the increased number of competitors and the expected crowds.

A CGF spokesman said: "Our main aim is to maximise efficiency and effectiveness in our delivery of a world-class event with real community relevance that is both affordable and universally appealing."

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