The Commonwealth Games Federation [CGF] Executive Board has approved a 24-hour change in start date for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games which will now begin on 28 July 2022, running through to 8 August 2022.
The joint announcement from the CGF and Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee comes after the significant impact to the international sporting calendar caused by COVID-19.
This slight adjustment to the schedule is the result of multiple collaborative discussions between the leaders of some of the world’s major sporting events. It ensures that Birmingham 2022 will now boast two full weekends of Commonwealth Sport whilst extending the rest and recovery period for those athletes competing in the World Athletics Championships.
The alteration to the opening ceremony date also avoids a potential clash with the semi-finals of the recently rescheduled UEFA Women’s Football Championships, helping to protect and promote the profile of women’s sport. The UEFA Women’s Football Championships will further enhance the ever-growing popularity of women’s football, while Birmingham 2022 is expected to be the first major multi-sport event in history to have more women’s medal events than men’s events.
The global health pandemic has caused many major sport competitions to be cancelled or postponed. This includes both the World Athletics Championships, taking place in Oregon USA, and The UEFA Women’s Football Championships, being held in England. Both events have now moved by 12 months from 2021 and will take place in July 2022.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the World Athletics Championships, the UEFA Women’s Football Championships, and the multi-sport European Championships will now all be held over an exciting six-week period during the Summer of 2022.
CGF President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “In unprecedented circumstances, I am delighted that we have been able to work in partnership to ensure that the Commonwealth Games will take pride of place in what will be a fantastic summer of sport.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all areas of life, including the international sporting calendar, has been huge. In adversity, I have been proud to work closely alongside partner International Federations and Governing Bodies to help shape a spectacular six-week period of elite sport. It demonstrates the very best of sport working at the service of athletes.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth Sports Movement, I am pleased that 2022 will now be a real celebration of women’s sport.
“I would like to thank World Athletics, UEFA and The FA for working with us to navigate very difficult circumstances to create an amazing summer of sport for fans and spectators.”
John Crabtree, Chairman of Birmingham 2022 said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a seismic impact on the international sporting calendar for the next couple of years. This has understandably needed to be reshaped and rewritten and we’ve spent the last few weeks working with other organisations to align, collaborate, and analyse what these changes mean for Birmingham 2022, our athletes, our spectators, our TV viewers, and our partners.
“As well as this slight change to our dates we are working on a detailed competition schedule for our 19 sports, looking at how we can maximise the recovery time for those athletes who will be looking to participate in more than one major event in two years’ time.
“We’re grateful for the expert input we continue to receive from international federations, national governing bodies and athletes’ advisory committees and we’ll release more information later in the year.
“Birmingham 2022 will be at the heart of superb summer of sport, which will be particularly exciting for sports fans in the UK, with the UEFA Women’s Football Championships and the Commonwealth Games being held back to back.”
World Athletics’ President, Sebastian Coe said: “As we said in April, 2022 will be a bonanza for athletics fans around the world as they are treated to a summer of absolutely first-class athletics.
“More than 70 of our Member Federations are part of the Commonwealth and more than 50 Member Federations are European so our guiding principle in rescheduling the World Championships was to ensure enough space was created around the centrepiece World Athletics Championship for athletes to choose other major events to compete in. It is tight and we would not have chosen to have three major championships back-to-back but it will give us a unique opportunity to promote athletics and its talented stars around the globe in back to back competitions.”
Chris Bryant, The FA’s Head of Tournament Delivery, said: “With England due to host a home UEFA Women’s EURO and a home Commonwealth Games, the summer of 2022 is shaping up to be a fantastic summer of sport in this country.
“During what has been an unprecedented time for us all – both in the sporting community and beyond – we are thankful to the Commonwealth Games Federation for their continued collaboration as we seek to deliver a record-breaking home EURO in two years’ time.
“We look forward to working closely with both the CGF and Birmingham 2022 in the run up to our respective events to ensure we maximise this great opportunity to showcase the very best of women’s sport.”