Liverpool is proposing to make a bid to stage the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with a host of sporting stars lending their support.
The city announced at precisely 8.26pm (20.26) on Tuesday that it hopes to be in with a chance of holding the "most inclusive Commonwealth Games ever" - and could submit its bid in as little as 13 months ahead of the Games which are still a decade away.
Sporting heroes including Olympian gymnast Beth Tweddle, football legends Jamie Carragher and Graeme Sharp and hotly-tipped Rio heptathlon hopeful Katarina Johnson-Thompson have all agreed to act as ambassadors alongside WBC world cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew.
Very pleased to announce at 20:26 that Liverpool City Region will bid to host the most inclusive Commonwealth Games in 2026 #GetExcited
-- Joe Anderson (@joe4metromayor) August 2, 2016
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said the city had "an enormous amount to offer" and that the event would be an important catalyst for regeneration and investment whilst raising the profile of sport.
Anderson said: "Liverpool is an ambitious city and I believe we have an enormous amount to offer when it comes to hosting an event of this scale, which would be an incredibly important catalyst for regeneration, investment and raising the profile of sport.
"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."
European champion Johnson-Thompson said she would be "proud" if her hometown was to be named as the host city.
She said: "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."
Bellew said it would be "something for the next generation of athletes in Liverpool and the entire country to look forward to" while England and Liverpool football star Carragher added he was "delighted" to be supporting the city.
Three-times world champion gymnast Tweddle, who won gold in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, added it would be a "massive coup" for Liverpool.
She said: "Having trained and competed in Liverpool, I know that both competitors and visitors will have an unforgettable experience here."
The first steps will see an assessment of the city's infrastructure against the technical requirements set out by the Commonwealth Games Federation, as well as a financial appraisal to look at key factors required to deliver the high-profile event.
A final decision as to whether Liverpool will be nominated as being the UK city to bid for the Games will be made in September 2018.
The ultimate decision as to who will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games will be confirmed in September 2019 by the Commonwealth Games General Assembly.