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SPORTING EVENT: 2026 championships ‘dead in the water’

SPORTING EVENT: 2026 championships ‘dead in the water’

Martin Gannon, Gateshead Council Leader, Image: NCJ Media

A bid to bring one of the world’s biggest sporting events to Tyneside is “dead in the water”.

Hopes of Newcastle and Gateshead hosting the 2026 European Championships have fallen flat after failing to secure government funding, a council leader has revealed.

The event combines the European Athletics Championships with competitions in other sports including swimming, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon, and has an estimated TV audience of more than a billion people.

The multi-sport showpiece was first staged jointly by Glasgow and Berlin in 2018 and will head to Munich in 2022, with North East leaders having hoped to pull off a major coup by bringing its third iteration here.

But Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon has revealed that the bid now looks to be off the table, after a failed effort to secure £25m from the government to help local councils pay for the hosting of the championships.

Coun Gannon told a North East Combined Authority meeting on Tuesday that the councils had “been working together for some time” with UK Athletics, Sport England and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport and put forward a £25m request ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget last week.

He added: “It would be a huge opportunity for the North East, we would not get anything else on this sort of scale.

“The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham has been supported by the government, getting close to £1bn.

“We submitted a bid of £25m to support Newcastle and Gateshead, working in partnership with the other local authorities across the region.

“An opportunity to present the North East to the world was rejected. The European games 2026 is effectively, without government support, dead in the water.

“I want to know what Levelling Up means and what support we are going to get.”

Gateshead Council said it had been told by the government that the bid was unsuccessful due to “an extremely challenging process, taking into account the significant public expenditure during the pandemic to keep people employed and support a wide range of public services and sectors, including sport.”

The North East has a strong track record of hosting major sporting events, including the Great North Run, Diamond League athletics at Gateshead International Stadium, and Rugby World Cup and European rugby finals at St James’ Park.

The government was contacted for a comment.

 

Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter


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