Organisers of next summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are confident the event will be able to take place in front of capacity crowds, even if Covid passports have to be checked on entry.
Asking people to provide proof of their Covid status in order to enter larger capacity venues is still under consideration by the Government, and Birmingham 2022 chief executive Ian Reid told MPs on Tuesday that extensive planning was being done to make the Games safe.
“We are very confident as we sit here now that we can fill stadiums, we can fill live sites and we can have an incredible celebration next summer,” he said at an appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee.
“We will have an infrastructure in place that can support a COVID-friendly Games.”
Reid was asked about the financial targets around the Games.
He said organisers were targeting at least the same return as the last Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, which was put at £1.3billion.
Reid said there had been public investment in the Birmingham Games totalling £778million. He said somewhere between 70 to 80 per cent of tickets was the ‘break even’ target.
“Hopefully that’s a prudent estimate and we can beat that,” Reid said.
He said there were between 1.5m and 1.7m tickets to sell in total, and that a ballot just for local residents which opened in July had already attracted over 850,000 applications.
Reid was asked by committee MP Clive Efford to respond to suggestions that Birmingham may be the last Games to take place on such a scale.
“One of the reasons Birmingham was attractive to the Commonwealth Games Federation is the existing infrastructure that was already here,” he said.
“Ninety five per cent of the venues were in place, but there are two major capital projects, the redevelopment of Alexander Stadium and the completely new build Aquatics Centre which is being developed as we speak.
“One of the things we’re incredibly proud of, despite the fact there has obviously been significant public investment in these Games, is that they are going to cost considerably less than the last iteration of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, so we hopefully have started that downward trajectory, you know, driving efficiency.
“That’s not compromising on deliverables, that’s actually doing things working closely with the CGF to deliver things in a more efficient way.”