Liverpool formally launched its bid to host the 2022 Games on Friday afternoon, revealing the 14 planned venues that would host more than 20 sports.
Unsurprisingly, Everton’s new stadium has been earmarked to host athletics.
The Toffees purchased land at Bramley-Moore Dock in March with planning expected to be submitted by the end of the year.
But crucially, for many concerned Evertonians, those plans will NOT include a running track.
The presence of a track at grounds such West Ham’s London Stadium means some fans sit a considerable distance from the pitch, affecting both sight-lines and atmosphere.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has reassured supporters that a permanent track won’t be in place.
Instead a temporary track will be installed after the final game of the 2021/22 season and removed before the start of the 2022/23 season - with all conversion costs met by the Commonwealth Games committee.
Hampden Park in Glasgow had a temporary running track installed when the city hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Here’s a quick video showing how that was done.
Liverpool’s 2022 bid also includes a proposal for the the Athletes’ Village to be constructed adjacent to Everton’s new stadium on Nelson Dock as part of Peel’s £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme.
Goodison Park would live on as well. After the success of Tony Bellew’s fight at the Grand Old Lady last year the boxing finals would take place at Goodison should the bid be successful.
Other plans for the games include:
- Swimming at a new 50 metre pool within the city centre dock system, that would remain in place after the Games.
- Triple jump, long jump and pole vault on the dockside by neighbouring Mann Island.
- T20 Cricket and Track Cycling as its ‘optional sports’ which would take place in Manchester at Old Trafford Cricket Ground and Manchester Velodrome.
- Echo Arena, Convention Centre and Exhibition Centre Liverpool - Badminton, Artistic Gymnastics, Judo, Netball and Wrestling.
- Anfield - Opening ceremony, Rugby Sevens.
- St George’s Hall - Squash Finals.
- Stanley Park - Lawn Bowls.
In an open letter to Evertonians published on the official site, Mayor Anderson said:
I want to assure you that the Council is fully committed to working with the Club to deliver what will be an iconic new football stadium at Bramley Moore Dock. The opportunity for Everton’s new home to play a key role in the Commonwealth Games is, however, a very exciting one for our City and the Club; presenting the opportunity to showcase our sporting pedigree, our waterfront and all our City has to offer to audiences right across the world.
I know you will be wondering if the City’s Commonwealth Games ambitions will affect you getting the type of stadium you want. I know that everyone at the Club – not least the Chairman and Mr Moshiri, who I am in regular contact with – is absolutely committed to replicating the intimacy, fan proximity and atmosphere of Goodison Park at our new home. I share that commitment and we won’t make the mistakes others have made. Our plan is to install a temporary track after the final home game of the 2021/22 season, which will then be removed before the 2022/23 season starts in the autumn.
Just like it would be if the Club was hosting a concert or another sporting event, the infrastructure will be temporary with all the costs of installation and removal met by the Commonwealth Games. The Club’s new stadium will be purpose-built as a football stadium for generations of Everton fans to enjoy, keeping the intimate atmosphere and close-to-the-pitch feel that our games are famous for. The running track, and other Commonwealth Games infrastructure will be temporary in nature and will not permanently influence the stadium’s design, capacity or configuration.