Liverpool Council image... Commonwealth Team pic.. Images by Gareth Jones

Top team appointed to lead delivery of major sporting events

Two of Liverpool’s leading sporting executives are to oversee the delivery of the city’s major international sports events.

Brian Barwick – the former controller of ITV Sport, Chair of the Rugby Football League and Chief Executive of the Football Association – will chair a new Sports Event Delivery Group (SEDG).

The group will maximise the opportunities from upcoming international sporting events, including the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games 2021 and the 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE, Director and Chief Executive of Everton Football Club, will chair the board for the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games 2021.

The Special Olympics is the UK’s biggest disability sports event and will be held in Liverpool in August 2021 at venues including ACC Liverpool, Greenbank Sports Academy and Wavertree Athletics Village. A spectacular opening and closing ceremony, a legacy festival and a dedicated volunteer programme will complement this multi-sport event. Up to 3,000 athletes will be involved in a wide range of sports including athletics, boccia, football, gymnastics and swimming.

The 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships will see an estimated 600 gymnasts from 90 countries taking part in 10 days of competition at ACC Liverpool, generating a local economic impact of £5.1 million and the event will also be a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Recruitment is also under way for board members for the SEDG and a chair and board members for World Gymnastics, to provide oversight and direction. Candidates are sought who understand the role that sport, physical activity and major events can play in society. More information and application forms are available here – the closing date is Friday 29 November.

The board members, including the chairs, will not receive remuneration.

Deputy Mayor and Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Liverpool has a first-class track record in delivering major sporting events – just this year we have hosted the highly successful Netball World Cup and the British Gymnastics Championships which attracted huge audiences and boosted the city’s global profile.
“It is vital that we maximise the opportunities that major sporting events bring to our city, not just in terms of giving athletes the best possible experience and putting on a show the city and the UK can be proud of, but also encouraging and sport participation and inspiring the next generation of athletes.”

Brian Barwick, Chair of the Sport Events Delivery Group, said: Liverpool is a city that knows how to put on a show, knows its sport and welcomes visitors from across the globe.

“I am a son of Liverpool and have a huge respect and regard for it, which is why I was honoured to chair the city’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“It brought home to me the tremendous passion and commitment to sport that exists in the city, so I am delighted to be now given the opportunity to use my experience to deliver world-class sporting events and showcase Liverpool to the world.”

Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chair of the Special Olympics GB 2021 Summer Games Board, said: “I am delighted that the Special Olympics will be coming to my home city, Liverpool. I had the pleasure of leading a dedicated and hardworking panel for our successful application.

“These Games are a chance to make a huge difference to the lives of many inspiring athletes and their families. Liverpool 2021 will represent a highly-significant opportunity to showcase the talents and abilities of children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“The Special Olympics are no stranger to Liverpool – the city region successfully hosted the first-ever Games in 1982 and I am determined the athletes, their families, and visitors enjoy a warm scouse welcome as the Games return home in 2021.”

Michelle Carney, Chief Executive of Special Olympics GB, said: “The city of Liverpool is a special place for Special Olympics GB. Knowsley in Merseyside provided the setting for the first ever Special Olympics Summer Games back in 1982 and we are delighted and excited to return for what will be the biggest multi-sport tournament the city has ever staged.

“With Mayor Joe Anderson, Denise Barrett-Baxendale and Brian Barwick over seeing our National Summer Games in August 2021 – we couldn’t be in safer hands. The only problem is, we just can’t wait for it to come around!”

Jane Allen, Chief Executive Officer of British Gymnastics, said: “British Gymnastics has a very special relationship with the City of Liverpool.

“Over the past nine years together we have grown our British Artistic Gymnastics Championships to be our most prestigious domestic event which attracts record crowds each year. Building on this success, we are excited to be staging the Artistic World Championships in 2022 at the M&S Arena. This will be a highlight for a city that has a strong international sporting reputation.”