Olympics advisor considered for Commonwealths

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Artist's impression of Birmingham's Alexander Stadium after its revamp
The Commonwealth Games will take place in Birmingham in 2022

A key figure behind the success of London 2012 is being considered as an independent delivery chief for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Neale Coleman, a former Olympics advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he was London Mayor, could oversee key capital projects in a bid to ensure no further delays.

The move follows the abandonment of plans for a £500m athletes’ village this week, which was blamed on the Covid-19 crisis.

Instead, student accommodation at the universities of Birmingham and Warwick will be used to house competitors, as well as a site at the National Exhibition Centre.

The setback has persuaded ministers to consider appointing Coleman – regarded as an expert in Games delivery – as chairman of the Birmingham 2022 independent capital projects board.

And with less than two years to go, the government is understood to be determined that the £778m event keeps to budget and is ready on time.

BBC Sport understands there are concerns about construction of the £60m aquatics centre at Sandwell. Building work on the event’s sole brand-new sports venue started in February, but any further lockdowns could jeopardise completion of the project.

Work on the £70m redevelopment of Alexander Stadium started at the end of May.

Described by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone as “the mastermind of the Olympics”, Coleman was involved in London’s successful bid when director of London 2012 within the Greater London Authority, and also advised Johnson on legacy.

Birmingham City Council had pledged to build accommodation for up to 6,500 athletes for the 2022 games, under its host city contract.

But worries about the cost of the village have been on the horizon for a while.

In March the city council admitted it was set to rise by £91.8m, with increased demand for building workers helping to tip the cost over the £496m budget.

The development was the part of the games that Birmingham City Council had sole responsibility for.

New housing and transport links will still be built, but not until 2023.

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