Sports

Birmingham 2022: Commonwealth Games organisers scrap Athletes’ Village

The Athletes’ Village for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has been scrapped after a review into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic found it could not be delivered on time.
The £500 million ($653 million/€556 million) Village was being constructed on the former Birmingham City University site in Perry Barr and was set to provide accommodation for 6,500 athletes and team officials.
Instead, 1,600 athletes and officials are set to be housed at the NEC Hotel Campus, with 1,900 at The University of Warwick.
Around 2,800 athletes and officials will also be located at the principal village at The University of Birmingham.
The decision to move away from a single site follows an assessment by the project delivery team, which worked with the construction supply chain, as well as independent experts, on how it could reduce the risk to the Games.
With a shorter than normal timeframe until the 2022 Games open in Birmingham, the Athletes’ Village had very little scope to withstand the delay the pandemic has had on construction.
The Perry Barr regeneration scheme, with new housing and transport infrastructure, will still be delivered.
“These are challenging times for all of us and delivering a major multi sports event during this period has meant we have needed to collaborate effectively, be pragmatic to change, and remain realistic about the challenges we face,” said Birmingham 2022 Chief Executive, Ian Reid.
“We recognise that this new model is a move away from the historic norm and we are grateful for the support shown by our partners across the Commonwealth Games Associations.
“Birmingham and the West Midlands is extremely fortunate to have superb alternate facilities and we are making this decision now, with two years to go, to de-risk the project, ensure delivery for athletes and teams and secure the legacy of new housing and transport infrastructure in Perry Barr.
“This is the sensible and pragmatic thing to do for the Games, the athletes and for the people of Birmingham.
“It enables Birmingham City Council to focus on the delivery of the Perry Barr Regeneration Scheme and gives us enough time to plan essential Games services like transport and security.
“Furthermore, it offers athletes and teams the assurance of a warm welcome and a superb Games experience in their homes-from-home across the West Midlands.”
There had been signs of trouble regarding the Athletes’ Village after reports said cost of construction had risen by £91.8 million ($113 million/€102 million).
Birmingham City Council’s audit committee also gave the Village project a red-risk rating at the start of this month.
The decision not to have an Athletes’ Village means a staple of major multi-sports events will be absent when Birmingham hosts the Games, reports insidethegames.
The new three-site campus model is set to be delivered within the overall Games budget of £778 million ($1billion/€865million), with Birmingham 2022 claiming the event remains on track to be delivered on time and on budget.
“After detailed consultation and planning across the Birmingham 2022 delivery partnership, there was unanimous agreement and support for this new village option that will see athletes housed in accommodation with world-class facilities in three campus villages across the West Midlands,” said Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin.
“Athletes and team officials can expect excellent accommodation, convenient locations, transport and all other Games services they would typically find in a single location.
“We believe this is a positive solution that will be supported by our 71 nations and territories while plans for similar multiple campus village models are becoming a viable option for future Commonwealth Games to ensure greater affordability and access to the future hosting ambitions of cities.
“We remain confident that Birmingham 2022 will be delivered on time and on budget – offering a world class Games experience for athletes, fans and all the businesses and communities that look to benefit from this extraordinary event.”

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