A senior UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister has praised Glasgow’s ambition and vision for the 2014 Commonwealth Games following a visit to the city.
On a visit to Scotland, organised by SCDI, Lord Howell, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, spoke after being given a tour of the new £113million Commonwealth Sports Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, which will host the badminton and track cycling events at the 2014 Games.
The iconic new venue, which is set to open late this year, is one of the biggest facilities of its kind in Europe.
Lord Howell said: "I have been hugely impressed by the vision and ambition of the Glasgow City Council and the Organising Company to deliver a world-class Commonwealth Games in 2014. What is even more important is the lasting economic legacy that this event will deliver. It will raise the profile of Scotland and the UK in the Commonwealth and lead to significant trade opportunities for businesses in Scotland and throughout the Commonwealth.”
The Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and the Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games, Councillor Archie Graham, said: “Visitors to the new Commonwealth Sports Arena cannot fail but to be impressed by the facilities we are putting in place for the people of Glasgow.
“The legacy of the Games will be felt for years to come in terms of increased participation in sport, new training and employment opportunities and economic investment through major construction projects such as the Commonwealth Sports Arena.”
Lord Howell was joined on the visit by Chair of Glasgow City Council’s Regeneration and Economy Committee, Councillor Alistair Watson, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) International Director, Jane Gotts and the Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, David Grevemberg.
Jane Gotts said: “We know that the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow in 2014. It is vital that we work now to ensure that we capitalise on the significant international trade opportunities an event of this scale will bring.
“The Commonwealth network opens Scotland to some of the world's most exciting, dynamic and growing economies and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners in Scotland and in the Foreign Office to use the Games as another catalyst to support businesses in Scotland to succeed in international markets and achieve our global ambitions.”
David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to update Lord Howell on the progress of the Games. We will be staging a truly global sporting event, and it is vital that we use this platform as an opportunity to promote Glasgow and Scotland across the Commonwealth, and raise awareness of the passion and ability the city and nation have to stage major events.
“The combination of sport, culture and business from across the Commonwealth will be key to making Glasgow 2014 a great success and realising a tangible legacy for Scotland.”
Councillor Watson added: “There is no doubt that the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is bringing significant benefits to the city in terms of developments including the Commonwealth Sports Arena. Excitement is growing ahead of the Games and it was pleasing to hear Lord Howell speak so highly not just of the new venue but of our overall programme for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.”
The Commonwealth Sports Arena is located on a 10.5 hectare site in Dalmarnock, close to Celtic Park and the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village. It is being built by Glasgow City Council and plans are already being put in place for its official opening late this year. A world-class programme of sporting events will be staged at the venue in the lead up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.