Natasha Woods reports on growing confidence around Glasgow’s bid to stage the 2014 Commonwealth Games
In a significant departure from his usually cautious approach, the man heading the Scottish challenge says he believes Glasgow is in “extremely good shape” to beat the rival Nigerian bid.
This Wednesday, at a ceremony in London, the official candidature files from Glasgow and Abuja will be presented to the Commonwealth Games Federation, exactly six months ahead of the crucial vote in Sri Lanka which will decide the contest.
Derek Casey, Glasgow’s bid director, is back in Scotland after a trip to Sierra Leone; the last of the African Commonwealth countries which the Scottish team have visited during a massive global exercise to promote and explain the city’s case to the 71 nations who will vote in November.
“We all have to wait and see what the final vote will be, but from Glasgow’s point of view I believe we go into the final stages of this contest in extremely good shape to have a winning bid in November,” said Casey.
“I cannot talk about Nigeria’s bid, and clearly we will have to see what they hand in later this week, but I’m convinced what the voters are particularly interested in is what is best for their athletes.
“And I believe our bid document provides both a vision for that and the technical details to back it up.”
Until now, it has been those backing the Abuja bid who have adopted the far more bullish position. Following the withdrawal of the Canadian city of Halifax earlier this year, the Nigerians – who are looking to bring the Commonwealth Games to Africa for the first time – have insisted they are in pole position.
Bid spokesman Mitchell Obi recently went as far as suggesting Glasgow might as well pull out of the competition.
“The support from fellow African countries has been quite overwhelming and Glasgow, for sure, has no chance,” he observed.
With 18 votes available from African nations – the largest number anywhere in the Commonwealth – the continent is a key battle ground in the chase to win the 36 votes required to succeed later this year.
Despite Abuja’s confident predictions, however, it is far from clear that they will actually receive a block vote from their fellow Africans, some of whom, privately at least, have expressed doubts about sending their athletes there.
This Wednesday, Glasgow will present a 240-page bid document, supported by documentation guaranteeing everything from the support of the Scottish Executive and Glasgow City Council, who have pledged to fund the Â£288 million cost based on a 80%/20% split, to the rate city hotels will charge for their rooms should the bid succeed.
This article was originally published in the Sunday Herald
For more on Glasgow 2014, click here