An application by Birmingham City Council in the English Midlands to stage the 1982 Commonwealth Games there, has split opinion in the city right down the middle.
An application by Birmingham City Council in the English Midlands to stage the 1982 Commonwealth Games there, has split opinion in the city right down the middle. The leaders of the Two minority groups on the Council - the Conservatives and Liberals - have told the Minister of Sport, Mr. Denis Howell, that although they are in favour of holding the Games in Birmingham in principle, they feel the cost would put an intolerable burden on ratepayers.
The proposal, put forward by the controlling Labour majority on the Council, would mean that the Games would be held on a site near the new National Exhibition Centre. Work has already begun on converting the site into an international athletic stadium. When it is completed, the stadium will have the largest tartan track in Europe and covered accommodation for thirty thousand spectators.
But because opinion in the city is so divided over the suggestion, the organising committee behind the scheme has started a campaign to win support for the proposal. A leading member of the committee, Mr. Bennie Foster, believes that preparations for the Games must go ahead now - even before a final decision has been taken - or else nothing will be done about it.
On the other hand, the leader of the Conservative opposition group on the Council, Councillor Neville Bosworth, says that neither the city nor the country can afford to start spending millions of pounds in order to host the Games in six years time.
Discussions which took place at the Department of the Environment on Monday (19 January) concentrated mainly on the cost of holding the Games in Birmingham, which is estimated at about ten million pounds (20 million U.S. dollars). The discussions considered what proportion of that money the Government's Sports Council would be prepared to supply.
If Birmingham is chosen for the 1982 Games, and the plans go ahead, it will be the first time that they will have been held in England.
SYNOPSIS: The City Council of Birmingham in the English Midlands, has applied to host the Commonwealth Games in nineteen eighty-two. But the suggestion has split opinion in the city right down the middle. Reporter Tony Francis has been investigating the arguments for and against.