Liverpool wants 2022 Commonwealth Games to show off waterfront regeneration
By Jonathan Rest
Liverpool's redeveloped historic docks will play a central role if the city's bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 is successful.
The games plan, unveiled today, relies heavily on the city's second soccer club, Everton, whose planned new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock would double as the site for athletics in 2022.
The track would be installed after the final home game of the 2021-22 season and would be removed before the first scheduled kick-off of the 2022-23 season.
The new stadium is itself a key part of the city's riverside regeneration programme, and is located beside the planned athletes village - planning permission has already been granted for construction of residential developments.
Also on the waterfront, Liverpool 2022 is proposing a new 50-metre floating swimming pool built near Albert Dock with seating for 5,000 spectators. The pool will be fixed to the walls of a dock, but will rest on the water, and after the games the stands would be removed and the pool opened to the public as a city centre lido.
In a break from tradition, the triple jump, pole vault and long jump competitions - usually organised in the athletics stadium - would take place on the dockside by neighbouring Mann Island.
Anfield, home of Liverpool FC, would host rugby sevens and the opening ceremony, while Stanley Park, which sits between Anfield and Everton's present Goodison Park home, would be the site for lawn bowls. Goodison Park would host the boxing finals - a year ago it staged British cruiserweight (and Everton fan) Tony Bellew's world title fight.
Liverpool will also be calling on the help of north west neighbour Manchester, host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, with optional sports Twenty20 cricket slated for the Old Trafford Cricket Ground and track cycling at Manchester Velodrome.
The Liverpool 2022 bid team said hosting the Commonwealth Games will accelerate £1 billion ($1.28 billion) of investment up to 10 years ahead of schedule and create more than 12,000 jobs.
The total cost of hosting the games is anticipated to be in the region of £672 million, with £547 million expected to come from the public sector, of which £137 million will come from Liverpool City Council.
Brian Barwick, the experienced UK sports executive, who is chair of Liverpool 2022, said today: "We are utilising our existing, world-class venues... as well as facilities linked to the massive regeneration that is already taking place in the Bramley-Moore Dock area that would be home to the athletes village.
"Some of the other eye catching plans, such as the dynamic new pool in the docks and the creative approach to working with Everton FC’s new state of art stadium will set the bar for how major games leave a real and tangible legacy."
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson added: "Liverpool has undergone a renaissance through smart investments, forging great partnerships and building a reputation as a major event and cultural hub. This bid taps directly into this creative ambition, innovative approach and the uniqueness of our city which will transform not just how the world views the Commonwealth Games but will also transform the economic fortunes of our waterfront and countless lives across the city."
Robert Elstone, chief executive of Everton, gave assurances over the planned 2022 athletics venue, claiming that "significant progress is being made at Bramley Moore Dock."
Liverpool is competing against Birmingham to be nominated by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport as its candidate city for 2022. That decision is expected in September, with the Commonwealth Games Federation due to announce the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games by the end of 2017.
Liverpool had initially put its name forward for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, but entered the race for 2022 after Durban, South Africa was stripped of hosting rights earlier this year having failed to meet criteria demanded by the CGF.
Cities in Australia and Canada are also in the running, as is Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.