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Sat, 4 February 2023

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Birmingham to host 2026 European Athletics Championships after Commonwealth success

UK Sport

4 min read Partner content

Birmingham has today been announced as the host of the 2026 European Athletics Championships – the first time that the European Athletics Championships will take place in the United Kingdom.

Building on the success and legacy of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer and a record-breaking, bumper year of sporting events across the United Kingdom, the 2026 European Athletics Championships will deliver huge economic and social benefits to Birmingham and the United Kingdom as a whole.

Today’s decision by European Athletics follows a successful bid developed by UK Athletics working in partnership with Birmingham City Council and UK Sport.  The announcement comes as UK Sport builds on a hugely successful year of major events, including hosting the Women’s Euro, Rugby League World Cup and World Gymnastics Championships alongside the Commonwealth Games.

Hosting this mega-event in Birmingham will further cement and develop the legacy of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with the European Athletics Championships to take place at the newly renovated Alexander Stadium. The 2026 European Athletics Championships represents another significant milestone in the UK’s forthcoming major sporting events programme alongside the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships and the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

After an exciting summer of medal success for Team GB & NI at the World and European Athletics Championships and for the home nations at the Commonwealth Games, the news that the UK will be hosting its first home European Athletics Championships will provide another fantastic opportunity for the British public to have front-row access to extraordinary sporting moments and deliver another successful event that will inspire positive change by reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation.

Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport, said:

“I’m delighted that the UK will be welcoming the world’s best athletes to Birmingham in 2026. Hosting the European Athletics Championships will be a fantastic opportunity to build on the legacy of the Commonwealth Games earlier this year and I know the British public will get behind the athletes and create a brilliant atmosphere in the Alexander Stadium.

“We’ve seen throughout 2022 the significant economic and social benefits of hosting big sporting events in this country and hosting this mega-event will deliver huge benefits for the city of Birmingham, the West Midlands region and the whole of the United Kingdom. It’s also important to recognise that our continued ability to deliver the very best global sporting events is thanks to the ongoing support of The National Lottery.”

UKA’s Chief Executive Jack Buckner said:

“We are delighted and honoured that we have been awarded the privilege of hosting the European Athletics Championships in 2026 in Birmingham. It is wonderful news for athletics and benefits the whole of the UK in demonstrating our ability to host major events across the whole country.

“UKA has held a long time wish to deliver this event and we thank European Athletics for its faith in entrusting us with its most important competition.

“Our vision for the Championships is about record breaking ticket sales and an amazing atmosphere for athletes to be inspired inside and outside the stadium. We have promised to deliver an amazing, innovative and game changing Championships, and we’re excited we can now put this plan into action!”

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:

“We are honoured and privileged to be asked to be the first-ever UK hosts of the prestigious European Athletics Championships in 2026.

“Over many years we have demonstrated we are a city that can proudly host major events of this type and scale – and the people of Birmingham and indeed the entire nation have proven time and time again their huge appetite for sport, especially athletics.

“The Alexander Stadium is beyond all doubt the premier athletics facility in the country and we cannot wait to welcome the elite of European athletics for this event, which will also bring a range of benefits for local communities and our economy beyond the programme of track and field activities.”

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said:

"It is fantastic that Birmingham has been chosen to host the first European Athletics Championship on British soil. The city is perfectly placed to put on the event following record-breaking ticket sales for a brilliant Commonwealth Games earlier this year.

"I look forward to seeing Europe's elite athletes descend on the West Midlands and the Government will continue to work closely with UK Sport, UK Athletics and Birmingham City Council to put on another hugely successful event."

For those interested in hearing first about tickets and wider opportunities to get involved in the championships, register here.

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