June 16, 2017 / 1:12 PM / 2 months ago

New Everton stadium at heart of Liverpool bid

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Liverpool's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games will include Premier League club Everton's planned new stadium, which will feature a temporary, removable athletics track.

Liverpool unveiled its bid on Friday saying the opening ceremony and rugby sevens would be held at Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium.

The initial bid plan, submitted on Friday, also includes a link-up with neighbouring Manchester which would host Twenty20 cricket at Old Trafford cricket ground and cycling at the Manchester Velodrome.

Most of the Games will be held at existing venues but a new 50-metre swimming pool will be built within the city centre dock system, while triple jump, long jump and pole vault are proposed to be held on the dockside by Mann Island in 'City Games' style.

The new Everton stadium, at Bramley-Moore Dock, close to the city centre, would host athletics events and would also have the Athletes Village close by.

The city's Arena and Convention Centre (ACC) would host a number of indoor events including Artistic Gymnastics and Badminton. Everton's current stadium, Goodison Park, would host the boxing finals.

"What we have unveiled is truly transformational. We are utilising our existing, world-class venues ... as well as facilities linked to the massive regeneration that is already taking place in the Bramley-Moore Dock area," Liverpool bid Chairman Brian Barwick said.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games were originally handed to Durban in South Africa but the city was stripped of hosting rights by the Commonwealth Games Federation in March after the plan hit financial problems.

Another English city, Birmingham, is also bidding for 2022 along with Victoria in western Canada. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia has said it is interested in hosting the event, along with several Australian venues.

But Liverpool is confident it can secure the backing of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

"If Birmingham can come up with a better masterplan and vision than this then they will deserve it but I think they are going to have to go far beyond the realms of possibility," said Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson.

He said the plan would encourage faster regeneration of the waterfront area of the city and bring a host of benefits.

"The economic impact, the jobs impact, skills, health and well-being, the whole branding of the city and the waterfront, it would be absolutely madness not to do it," he added.

Liverpool born boxer Tony Bellew, who is backing the bid, said the Games would provide a major economic boost for the city and help raise its profile.

"Every business in Liverpool will thrive from this and that is something that is deserved because we are not very fortunate to gain exposure being up north, it is usually all down south. So it will be nice for this (event) to come up north to such a multicultural city," he said.

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Edmund Blair

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