2018 World Cup loss ‘disappointing’

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Birmingham retains sporting pride despite World Cup blow

DESPITE yesterdays news that England will not host the FIFA World Cup in 2018, festive cheer remained intact for crowds gathered in Birmingham’s famous Frankfurt Christmas Market.

As FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced that Russia will instead host the tournament, onlookers in Victoria Square remained upbeat as the announcement was relayed live via the BBC Big Screen.

Former Aston Villa star Ian Taylor and ex-West Bromwich Albion defender Brendon Batson were among those gathered to discover the football governing body’s decision, and pupils from Hodge Hill Sports and Enterprise College were also on hand, having previously acted as representatives for Birmingham at the handover of the city’s bid to the FA in November 2009, and again upon receipt of England’s final bid submission at Villa Park in May 2010.

However, despite the obvious disappointment of missing out on the feast of football, sports fans across the region were instead reflecting upon a highly impressive bid which demonstrated the reputation of Birmingham and the West Midlands as a world class sporting location.

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:

“Naturally we were excited at the prospect of welcoming some of the world’s finest footballers to Birmingham in 2018 and the FIFA decision is hugely disappointing for everyone involved with the Football Association bid.

“But regardless of today’s announcement, Birmingham remains Britain’s sporting city. We’ve hosted more national and international sporting events than any other UK city. We recently signed a deal to bring the prestigious Diamond League to the city and we will host Olympic training camps for the USA and Jamaica in 2012.

“Birmingham will continue to play host to top national and international sporting events and would be happy to play a part in any future Football Association bid to stage the World Cup.

 “I have no doubt this country would have hosted a tournament to remember, with Birmingham very much at the forefront. But I would like to congratulate Russia and wish them every success in 2018.”

As well as boasting an unprecedented five clubs in this season’s Barclay’s Premier League, the West Midlands’ reputation as a first class sporting region was further harnessed by the recent announcement that Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr is to become one of only 14 Diamond League athletics stadiums in the world. Birmingham is also home to Edgbaston cricket ground, a first-class venue for international test cricket, and the National Indoor Arena, which regularly plays host to a wide variety of major sporting events.

2011 is already shaping up to be an impressive year for sport in Birmingham, with Alexander Stadium’s first Diamond League athletics meet, the Aviva Grand Prix set to take place in summer, while the Aegon Classic will again provide some of the world’s best tennis players with the ideal warm-up for the Wimbledon Championships.

Looking further ahead, a planned expansion of Villa Park, already regarded as one of the best stadiums in Britain, is set to go ahead despite the conclusion of England’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup.

2018 loss is ‘disappointing’

Birmingham retains sporting pride despite World Cup blow

 

DESPITE yesterdays news that England will not host the FIFA World Cup in 2018, festive cheer remained intact for crowds gathered in Birmingham’s famous Frankfurt Christmas Market.

As FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced that Russia will instead host the tournament, onlookers in Victoria Square remained upbeat as the announcement was relayed live via the BBC Big Screen.

Former Aston Villa star Ian Taylor and ex-West Bromwich Albion defender Brendon Batson were among those gathered to discover the football governing body’s decision, and pupils from Hodge Hill Sports and Enterprise College were also on hand, having previously acted as representatives for Birmingham at the handover of the city’s bid to the FA in November 2009, and again upon receipt of England’s final bid submission at Villa Park in May 2010.

However, despite the obvious disappointment of missing out on the feast of football, sports fans across the region were instead reflecting upon a highly impressive bid which demonstrated the reputation of Birmingham and the West Midlands as a world class sporting location.

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:

“Naturally we were excited at the prospect of welcoming some of the world’s finest footballers to Birmingham in 2018 and the FIFA decision is hugely disappointing for everyone involved with the Football Association bid.

“But regardless of today’s announcement, Birmingham remains Britain’s sporting city. We’ve hosted more national and international sporting events than any other UK city. We recently signed a deal to bring the prestigious Diamond League to the city and we will host Olympic training camps for the USA and Jamaica in 2012.

“Birmingham will continue to play host to top national and international sporting events and would be happy to play a part in any future Football Association bid to stage the World Cup.

 “I have no doubt this country would have hosted a tournament to remember, with Birmingham very much at the forefront. But I would like to congratulate Russia and wish them every success in 2018.”

As well as boasting an unprecedented five clubs in this season’s Barclay’s Premier League, the West Midlands’ reputation as a first class sporting region was further harnessed by the recent announcement that Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr is to become one of only 14 Diamond League athletics stadiums in the world. Birmingham is also home to Edgbaston cricket ground, a first-class venue for international test cricket, and the National Indoor Arena, which regularly plays host to a wide variety of major sporting events.

2011 is already shaping up to be an impressive year for sport in Birmingham, with Alexander Stadium’s first Diamond League athletics meet, the Aviva Grand Prix set to take place in summer, while the Aegon Classic will again provide some of the world’s best tennis players with the ideal warm-up for the Wimbledon Championships.

Looking further ahead, a planned expansion of Villa Park, already regarded as one of the best stadiums in Britain, is set to go ahead despite the conclusion of England’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup.

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