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Nadine Dorries: Great British summer of sport is showcasing that we are open to the world

Nadine Dorries: Great British summer of sport is showcasing that we are open to the world

(Alamy)

4 min read

A decade on from the London 2012 Olympic Games, this year we are proving once again that nobody does it better than the United Kingdom when it comes to hosting major sporting events.

Cameron Norrie’s march to the Wimbledon semi-finals; Lewis Hamilton pushing his car to the limit at the British Grand Prix; the resurgence of the England test cricket teams under Ben Stokes and Heather Knight; record-breaking crowds cheering on Leah Williamson’s Lionesses and Marissa Callaghan’s Northern Ireland team in their respective Euro 2022 campaigns. As Culture Secretary, it is a privilege to enjoy these moments, but I’m clear we must only invest in staging these events if we place an equal emphasis on legacy programmes that provide a platform to boost participation and inspire the next generation, helping to unearth our stars of the future.

Over the past two and a half difficult years, we have stood by elite and grassroots sport, with an unprecedented £1bn to ensure sport remains accessible for all throughout the pandemic.

As we now feed off a wave of interest from the men’s and women’s Euros, we are rolling out an additional £230m investment to build or upgrade up to 8,000 grassroots football and multi-sport pitches across the UK by 2025, and we have announced a £30m joint package with the Lawn Tennis Association to refurbish park tennis courts throughout the UK, supporting the huge boost for British tennis following the amazing successes of Emma Raducanu and Cameron Norrie. 

But investing in major sporting events goes beyond seeking glory and boosting participation. They also deliver jobs, volunteering opportunities, inbound tourism, hotel bookings and much more – and act as a beacon to show that Britain is open to visitors from around the world. Over the past decade, the hosting of major sporting events has generated an estimated socio-economic benefit upwards of £38.7bn.

I’m thrilled with what we’ve hosted so far this year, and there is so much more to come.

That includes the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which kick off very soon. The venues are built, the city looks fantastic, test events have been completed and the buzz is growing. An incredible 1.2m tickets have been sold so far for the 11 days of sport. There is a limited number of tickets still available, so I encourage readers to apply!

We then have the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool and the Rugby League World Cup to follow. For the latter, most of the matches will be played in the North of England, and the men’s, women’s and wheelchair events will take place concurrently to make it an unforgettable second half of the sporting year. 

I’m thrilled with what we’ve hosted so far this year, and there is so much more to come.

Beyond this year, in 2023 Glasgow will host the UCI World Cycling Championships, 2024 sees the return of the UEFA Champions League Final to Wembley, and in 2025 we will host the Women’s Rugby Union World Cup, with the ambition to have a capacity crowd at Twickenham for the final.

We also remain committed to working closely with the home nation football associations and our partners in the government of Ireland and the devolved administrations to bring UEFA Euro 2028 to the UK and Ireland.

This government has delivered for fans of sport on many fronts. This includes giving the green light to roll out safe standing at the top two tiers of football, our fan-led review of football leading to greater game sustainability and also helping to kill off the utterly senseless European Super League that would have damaged the integrity of the game.

We know sport captures imaginations – whether from the elite athletes of tomorrow, our expert events sector or the vibrant communities that provide thousands of volunteers.

I am confident we will look back on this year’s events as being key to our recovery as a nation from the pandemic, setting us up for another golden decade of British sport.

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