A line-up of Liverpool sports stars will act as ambassadors for a proposed bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games in the city.
Rio heptathlon hopeful Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, boxing champion Tony Bellew and football legends Jamie Carragher and Graeme Sharp are backing the initiative as it begins to move forward.
European champion Katarina, who is preparing to compete in this month’s Olympic Games when they get underway on Friday (5 August), says: “I would be so proud if my hometown of Liverpool was named as the host city for one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
“Liverpool is an amazing place that people from all over the Commonwealth would love. The city is synonymous with sport, the people are so welcoming and there’s nowhere better for the Commonwealth Games to take place in so I’m delighted to act as an ambassador for the bid.”
According to Liverpool City Council the bid could be submitted in around 13 months, and the first steps of the process will see a project director appointed to oversee the entirety of Liverpool’s entry. An independent consultancy firm would also be recruited to carry out a full feasibility study.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson says: “The Games will reflect our growing confidence and expertise in organising large events which create memories for a lifetime and bring the world together, with opportunities for people and places across the city region.
“I’m delighted that we already have a raft of local sporting heroes backing our plans and our aim to host the most inclusive Commonwealth Games ever in 2026.”
During the bid process, Liverpool will also approach former Commonwealth Games to learn lessons around their experiences of staging the event, as well as UK Sport and Commonwealth Games England.
A final decision as to whether Liverpool will be nominated as the UK City bid for the games will be made in September 2018, with the ultimate decision as to who will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games confirmed in September 2019 by the Commonwealth Games General Assembly.