The Chief Executive of Downtown in Business, Frank McKenna, has backed plans for a Liverpool-led Commonwealth Games bid supported by Manchester.
Following the news that Durban had lost the right to host the 2022 games, the UK is seen by many as the most likely destination for an alternative venue. Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson was quick off the mark to register the city’s interest in hosting the event. McKenna thinks a partnership with Manchester will make a good proposition even more attractive.
‘Liverpool has a track record of delivering major international events in recent times. It is no secret that there is an ambition to develop a new stadium at Bramley Dock. The land available in and around that site is an ideal location for a Commonwealth Games village and associated facilities that will be required.
‘In addition, Liverpool has a mature and growing cultural offer that has seen the city’s visitor numbers soar over the past decade. The hotel and hospitality offer is excellent; and Liverpool is a sports mad place. The proposal from Liverpool will be compelling.’
Nevertheless, collaboration with its powerhouse partner Manchester would strengthen the bid even further according to McKenna.
‘Mayor Anderson has already flagged up the fact that the Games cycling competitions could be held at Manchester’s velodrome. There are other assets at the other end of the M62 that could benefit the Liverpool bid too; and of course, the regions international Airport is there.’
‘Crucially, we must ensure that if the Games do come to the city, Liverpool is not short-changed. Manchester, Glasgow, and London benefitted greatly from central government investment when they hosted Commonwealth and Olympic Games respectively. The same level of financial support must be provided for the host city of the 2022 event.’
The Downtown boss, who recently announced plans for his organisation to open a London office, warned against awarding the hosting of the Games to the capital.
‘Liverpool, or indeed Birmingham, would benefit massively both in marketing and economic terms if their bid was successful. London, on the other hand, does not need such a boost. The big structural problem that George Osborne rightly identified in our economy is the economic imbalance between the South East and the rest of the country.
‘Our capital city is a wonderful place. A global force that we should be proud of. Nonetheless, it has been allowed to dominate the rest of the country for far too long, and is as much in need of hosting another major international event as Simon Cowell needs a boost to his ego. It would be a travesty if an opportunity to give one of our great provincial cities a lift was ignored in favour of another London-fest.’