© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illusrated
By 2026, it will be the first time in 94 years that the European Athletics Championships will be scheduled to take place on British soil. But, the host city, Birmingham is bankrupt. The city council filed a section 114, which is similar to declaring bankruptcy.
Recently the Canadian province of Alberta and the Australian state of Victoria pulled out of hosting respective Commonwealth Games due to projected spiralling costs. The concern with Birmingham is, can the city afford to host the event? Apparently, the rising costs of the social safety net in Britain is handcuffing the country and the city. Birmingham will need the federal government to contribute £13.7 million or $17 million USD.
When filing a section 114, the council is required to craft a recovery roadmap. It will present what they have on September 25. In all likelihood, it won’t be known until then whether Birmingham can afford to host. Spending millions of dollars on sporting events when in a fiscal quagmire is not going to look good on a recovery roadmap.
“We are actively assessing the situation in relation to the Birmingham 2026 European Athletics Championships in conjunction with Local Organising Committee and the Birmingham City Council and expecting to receive further information from the Birmingham City Council,” European Athletics said in a statement.”
European Athletics was tactically smart enough to appeal to the nation of Britain with an appeal to all British partners.
“European Athletics would also like to reiterate confidence in all our British-based partners for the Birmingham 2026 European Athletics Championships including the Local Organising Committee, Birmingham City Council, UK Athletics, and the other relevant UK governing sports bodies.”
The UK government will need to be involved.
Tony Hadley, chair of the Birchfield Harriers athletics clubvis concerned about the optics. His club is based in the newly renovated Alexander Stadium, which was used for the Commonwealth Games. He fears if Birmingham withdraws it will be the unravelling of the good work achieved by the Commonwealth Games.
“My concern is we’ve got a fantastic reputation for putting on major events, not just the Commonwealth Games but others before that,” he told the BBC.
“And if Birmingham was to pull out now, that would ruin that reputation.
“We’ve got three years to go, that’s a long time in sport, that’s a long time in politics, let’s all be calm and just give the city and the [federal] government time in which to work this out.”
The latest Commonwealth Games were held in Birmingham in 2022. The event was financially successful. But, keep in mind, Birmingham only stepped in after Durban, South Africa — which was originally awarded the Games — could no longer afford them.