Sunday, 11 November 2012

Warning over Commonwealth Games costs

FORMER Bristol City FC chairman Colin Sexstone has warned that bringing the Commonwealth Games to Bristol could see the city landed with a bill running into tens of millions of pounds.

Mr Sexstone, who now runs his own business consultancy, was responding to a pledge by Labour mayoral candidate Marvin Rees to bid for the games to come to the city if he is elected as mayor on Thursday.

Mr Sexstone said: "It's a very laudable idea and of course I would like to see the games in Bristol.

"But I just wonder if it has been properly costed out. At the very least, a new athletics stadium would be needed which would cost a minimum £100 million and where would it be built?

"I'm all for these kind of events – I brought the cricket World Cup to Bristol in 1999 and helped to ensure that Bristol was selected as a host city for the 2018 World Cup but I just don't see how bringing the games here is achievable.

"It's a bright idea but I think you have to be realistic."

Mr Sexstone backs Bristol 1st candidate George Ferguson to be the best mayor to improve sport in the city.

Mr Sexstone said: "In the past few years, both the Liberal Democrats and Labour have had a go at running the council and some of the party political candidates have made various pledges.

"But the fact of the matter is, they should have done years ago what they are now promising.

"I've been a sports administrator in Bristol for 16 years and I've had many dealings with the city council but frankly, I have absolutely no confidence that either Labour or the Liberal Democrats will be able to deliver on sport – either in what they are saying or understand what the clubs and sports people want.

"That's why I am recommending to all sports people to give their support to George Ferguson.

"He has a strong business background and a track record for getting things done."

Mr Sexstone said it should not be underestimated what professional sports clubs do for the community but this aspect of their work is often forgotten.

He said: "I know George Ferguson has done a lot of work in the community and fully appreciates the role of sports clubs."

On Friday, The Post revealed that Mr Rees wants to bring the Commonwealth Games to Bristol in 2022 or 2026.

His pledge has received the backing of both professional football clubs, Bristol Rugby Club and a number of leading sports people in the city.

Mr Rees has said: "Britain saw the huge impact that the Olympics had on the whole country but particularly on London and it is time for Bristol to reach out with similar ambition."

He said the process to win the Games would start with a feasibility study before submitting a formal bid.

He said that even if the bid was not successful, it would raise the profile of the city. Smaller cities have held the Games in the past, such as Victoria in Canada in 1994.

Warning over Commonwealth Games costs

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