Warwickshire CCC's chief executive Neil Snowball
Warwickshire County Cricket Club is backing the city of Birmingham’s bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Members of the Warwickshire playing squad showed support for Birmingham’s bid at a recent Civic Reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham at the Council House.
Additionally, the club’s chief executive Neil Snowball has been involved in early preparations, with a feasibility study for the 2026 Games currently underway.
“Birmingham has consistently proven itself as an outstanding host of major sporting events,” said Snowball, who worked on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2015 Rugby World Cup prior to joining Warwickshire at the start of 2016.
“The unprecedented investment in the region, including Birmingham New Street Station, the Midlands Metro network and of course HS2, will provide an infrastructure that will enable us to be great hosts to the thousands of athletes, officials and spectators attending the Games.
“We also have some of the most famous sporting venues and arenas in the country, and everyone at Edgbaston is very excited to support the campaign to bring the Games to Birmingham.”
Warwickshire CCC’s Edgbaston Stadium has been a venue for international cricket since 1902 and will host its 50th Test match this year when England take on West Indies in the first day/night Investec Test match to be staged in this country.
The legendary venue will also be a host venue for ICC Champions Trophy for the third time in June this year whilst also hosting matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup – for the fifth time – in 2019.
Cllr Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “Given Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s status as one of the leading teams in cricket, it is fantastic to have the support of the Bears as we look to shape our bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
“Edgbaston has a record that is second to none when it comes to staging major matches – so when Warwickshire County Cricket Club come out in support of something like this, it is a major boost for the city’s hopes. The club have always been a great partner in the city and would undoubtedly have a key part to play if the games come to Birmingham.”
Steve Hollis, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP said: “Greater Birmingham is perfectly poised to welcome the thousands of sports fans and athletes for the Commonwealth Games in 2026, so we are delighted to see this level of support from Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
“We are one of the most connected regions in the world with unrivalled transport links, accommodation and world-class venues such as the Edgbaston Stadium. Unlike other cities considering bidding, we already have significant infrastructure in place and HS2 is also set to be operational from 2026.
“The Commonwealth Games is an incredible opportunity to showcase the Midlands region. The Games will not only attract interest in the region and contribute significantly to the local economy, but will also provide legacy investment opportunities.”
If the bid is a success it has the potential to generate in excess of £390m GVA for the local economy, create thousands of jobs and catapult the region onto the global stage.
Birmingham has a strong track record of delivering large international sporting events, recently hosting The Ashes at Edgbaston, Rugby World Cup fixtures at Villa Park, Diamond League athletics meetings at the Alexander Stadium, the Aegon Classic tennis championships at the Edgbaston Priory Club, the All England Open Badminton Championships and the UCI BMX Championships.
In addition, the NEC, Genting Arena and Barclaycard Arena as well as the ICC, all routinely host high-profile concerts, conferences and shows.
And, Birmingham will also be hosting the Birmingham International Marathon this year, while the city also welcomes fixtures of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and the World Indoor Athletics Championships in 2018.