MARTIN WILLIAMS Glasgow Herald Mon Jan. 27 2004
GLASGOW emerged yesterday as the likely British contender to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with the prospect of a multi-billion-pound dividend for the city and the rest of the central belt.
It beat Edinburgh, host in 1970 and 1986, to be announced as preferred bidder by the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland (CGCS).
However, the capital is still likely to be chosen for certain sports if the bid goes ahead, and the city endorsed its rival.
There are no plans for England to bid, because Manchester hosted the event in 2002, and the London Olympics 2012 campaign is in full swing. Wales has expressed interest but has yet to step forward, leaving Glasgow as the sole British contender.
A Scottish bid assessment group will now conduct a feasibility study and decide next year whether to launch a full 2014 bid, which would cost about £lm. Staging the games would cost hundreds of millions of pounds.
However, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce pointed out that, when Manchester held the event, £6bn and more than 6000 jobs were generated for its local economy and believed the city would generate at least as much. Further spin-offs would follow through tourism and businesses coming into the central belt.
Jack McConnell joined the leaders of Glasgow and Edinburgh councils to urge all Scotland to rally behind the campaign. The first minister said: “I want Scotland to host major events, and the Commonwealth Games is one of the best.”
Glasgow City Council said the city’s range of prestigious venues, including Hampden Park and the SECC, made it a strong contender.
Charles Gordon, council leader, said its pedigree in hosting international events would weigh in its favour. Glasgow hosted the Uefa Champions League final in 2002 at Hampden, and will host the Special Olympics next July. The Commonwealth Games Federation makes the final decision.
Games will be of benefit to us all
Glasgow Herald Mon Jan. 27 2004
IT IS the first step on a long road, but it is exciting. The announcement yesterday that Glasgow is Scotland’s preferred bidder for the Commonwealth Games in 2014 will be cause for celebration for the city’s leaders, who can now look forward to the next stage of the process: the creation of what Scotland must hope will be the winning bid. Will it be worth it? Yes.
The Commonwealth Games is still one of the most important sporting events in the world. If Glasgow were to host it, it would gain immeasurably from the recognition and investment. Manchester, which hosted the games in 2002, is testament to these benefits: 300,000 extra visitors now come to the city each year, its poverty-stricken east end now has major swimming and cycling venues, and it has around 2500 extra permanent jobs.
There is no reason why Glasgow’s bid, if successful, could not do the same. It, too, is planning major investment in the east end: the creation of a £24m national indoor arena. Its creation is not dependent on the bid, but will be an integral part of it, and is a lasting investment in an area of the city much in need of it. Glasgow’s first task, then, is to put together a bid which will give it the confidence to compete against Canada, Nigeria, South Africa, and, possibly, Wales. That process is expected to cost around £lm, while to stage the games would cost between £300m and £400m. Such expenditure is likely to receive its share of criticism.
Why, some will ask, is Scotland willing to spend so much on a one-off event instead of investing it in Glasgow’s deprived areas, hospitals or schools? The answer is that if a city is to grow and prosper it must be ambitious. As part of its bid, Glasgow should strive to develop sporting facilities that can be used for decades afterwards, to inspire in its citizens a pride in their city, and in its children a desire to emulate the sporting heroes who will travel to Glasgow.
Scotland is still saddled with the tag of the sick man of Europe and much of the blame for this lies with Glasgow. Exercise is the key to removing that tag and children who learn to love sport and aspire to participate are more likely to enjoy exercise and to continue doing it into adulthood. Glasgow City Council has shown ambition and it has paid off. It is in the interest of the whole of Scotland to rally behind the city to ensure its bid for the Games is as strong as possible. Tony Blair has called on Britain as a whole to support London’s bid for the Olympics, a farmore costly affair that will be paid for by taxpayers in Scotland as well as elsewhere. Jack McConnell, the first minister, has supported that call, so it seems reasonable for Scotland to expect Westminster’s backing for the Commonwealth bid. The benefits will be spread far beyond those two weeks in 2014.