Liverpool City Council .Mayor Joe Anderson with young gymnastic members at the Lifestyles Gym in Park Road Toxteth bidding for the City Region 2026 Commonwealth Games Bid

Sports stars back city’s Commonwealth Games bid

An array of sporting stars are backing Liverpool’s proposed bid to stage the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Hotly tipped Rio heptathlon hopeful Katarina Johnson-Thompson, three times ABA Heavyweight Champion Tony Bellew, Olympian Beth Tweddle along with football legends Jamie Carragher and Graeme Sharp have all agreed to act as Ambassadors for the bid which could be submitted in around 13 months.

Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool is an ambitious city and I believe we have an enormous amount to offer when it comes to hosting an event of this scale which would be an incredibly important catalyst for regeneration, investment and raising the profile of sport.

“The Games will reflect our growing confidence and expertise in organising large events which create memories for a lifetime and bring the world together, with opportunities for people and places across the city region.

“I’m delighted that we already have a raft of local sporting heroes backing our plans and our aim to host the most inclusive Commonwealth Games ever in 2026.”

Mayor Joe Anderson with young gymnasts at Lifestyles Park Road
Mayor Joe Anderson with young gymnasts at Lifestyles Park Road

The first steps of the potential bidding process will see a Project Director appointed to oversee the entire bid and an independent consultancy firm recruited to carry out a full feasibility study. This will include an assessment of the city’s infrastructure against the technical requirements set out by the Commonwealth Games Federation, as well as a financial appraisal looking at all the key factors required to deliver the high-profile event.

The Project Director will also bring together a dedicated key stakeholder group which will consist of industry experts who will support and guide the consultants over the next six months.

Former host Commonwealth Games cities will be approached so lessons can be learned around their first-hand experiences of staging the event, as well as UK Sport and Commonwealth Games England.

A final decision as to whether Liverpool will be nominated as the UK City to bid for the Games will be made in September 2018, with the ultimate decision as to who will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games confirmed in September 2019. This decision is taken by the Commonwealth Games General Assembly.


Mayor Joe Anderson speaks to Bay TV Liverpool about the plan

What the Ambassadors say:

“I would be so proud if my hometown of Liverpool was named as the host city for one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Liverpool is an amazing place that people from all over the Commonwealth would love. The city is synonymous with sport, the people are so welcoming and there’s nowhere better for the Commonwealth Games to take place in so I’m delighted to act as an ambassador for the bid.”

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, European champion specialising in the heptathlon


“I think this is great for the city and something for the next generation of athletes in Liverpool and the entire country to look forward to. The Commonwealth Games is a huge event with massive media coverage that can help propel an athlete into the public eye. I am a former Commonwealth Champion as a professional and I fully understand its importance. I am definitely backing Liverpool’s bid to host the games.”

Tony Bellew, newly crowned WBC World Cruiserweight Champion


“I’m delighted to get behind Liverpool’s bid for the 2026 Commonwealth games. Liverpool is a sporting city, consistently producing world class sports men and women. It’s obvious to me that Liverpool is the perfect place to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. The bid is a great example of Joe Anderson’s commitment to sport across the city region.”

Jamie Carragher, Liverpool and England legend


“I have really fond memories of the Commonwealth Games, particularly after winning Gold in Manchester back in 2002, and it would be a massive coup for Liverpool to be host city. Having trained and competed in Liverpool, I know that both competitors and visitors will have an unforgettable experience here. It is an honour for me to be an ambassador for the bid.”

Beth Tweddle MBE, professional gymnast and three times World Champion


“Liverpool is an ambitious city, and has a good track record in recent years in delivering large-scale events. It would be fantastic for the city and its people if Liverpool was given the honour of hosting the Commonwealth Games. I’ve seen what the Games has done for my home city, Glasgow, so I am right behind this bid, as I’m sure everyone in the sporting community will be.”

Graeme Sharp, former footballer and Everton Football Club’s leading post-war goal scorer


“The Commonwealth Games were absolutely crucial for me and my career in boxing. I know that it can be just as important to the talent I see around the Liverpool City Region every single day. The idea that in 10 years’ time, one of own could come through the ranks and become a commonwealth champion in their home city is just amazing. I know the people of Liverpool will embrace the games, I can’t think of a better host for 2026.”

Paul Smith Jr, two-time former British super-middleweight champion

And it’s not only sporting legends who are backing the bid. Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, (who was in the role when Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002) has expressed his support for Liverpool’s bid.

He said: “Manchester and Liverpool might have a long tradition of sporting rivalry but Liverpool’s bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games has Manchester’s wholehearted support.

“As great northern cities just down the M62 from each other, we recognise that what’s good for one city is good for both and the North West of England. Playing host to this major international celebration of sport will provide a boost not just to Liverpool but the region as a whole.

“Manchester’s hosting of the 2002 Commonwealth Games had a profound legacy for communities and residents. It was a catalyst to the regeneration of east Manchester and resulted in a concentration of top-class sporting facilities for grassroots as well as elite use which have helped increase participation in sport and aspirations. I’m sure Liverpool will be equally focused on legacy and as neighbours we would be happy to offer any support we can.”

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