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.
CU construction sign at Birmingham site PAN TO Development land (2 shots)
GV Reporter Tony Francis to camera
CU Brochure being displayed
SV Mr. Bennie Foster speaking to reporter
SV Councillor Neville Bosworth speaking to reporter
GV PAN FROM Train leaving exhibition centre PAN TO Front of building
LV Birmingham University
GV PAN University residences
FRANCIS: "This is where the Games would be centred. As you can see, work has already begun to convert it into an international athletic stadium. It may look pretty bleak at the moment - especially on a day like this - but when it's finished, it will have the largest tartan track in Europe and covered accommodation for thirty thousand spectators. But it is far from certain that the Commonwealth Games torch will ever be lit here. Birmingham is the main candidate, but it is a divided city. Some people think the Games are a must, others say they are a wild extravagance. That is why the committee behind the scheme began its campaign to win around the citizens. It has produced this colourful, glossy brochure proclaiming that the case for Birmingham is overwhelming. It is an impressive document which must have cost a few bob itself. In these times of severe financial hardship though, how can Birmingham possibly afford to put on anything so grand."
FOSTER: "Well I don't think it can afford not to. You see, if Birmingham doesn't do it now - we have got to think in terms of planning four years ahead or more, six years ahead in fact to nineteen eighty-two - then we won't do anything about it."
BOSWORTH: "We would like to have the Commonwealth Games, but we cannot afford to have them in nineteen eighty-two, because it means we have got to start spending money now - money that will run into millions of pounds, and which this city, and indeed the country, just cannot afford at the present time."
FRANCIS: "If it goes ahead the organisers will make a big saving by using the National Exhibition Centre for all the indoor events, boxing, gymnastics, badminton, judo and weightlifting. The Centre is only a short drive from Birmingham University where the Games village would be set up - very little building needed there. Competitors - up to two thousand of them if necessary - would live in the Vale Halls of Residence in Edgebaston. On their doorstep, superb training facilities, and the University medical centre."
Initials CL/1747 CL/1803
SPORT: COMMONWEALTH GAMES
(This film is serviced with a sound commentary by B.B.C reporter, Tony Francis, together with interviews with Mr. Bennie Foster and councillor Neville Bosworth. A transcript of all three is provided on page two.)
REPORTER: TONY FRANCIS
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: 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.