England

Alexander Stadium's bid to be UK Athletics base

A £12.25m revamp of Birmingham's Alexander Stadium has been approved in the hope it will become the new home of UK Athletics, the city council says.

The money will mean a new 5,000-seat stand - taking capacity to 12,800 - office space for 250 people, and improved gym facilities for the public.

The city council said it was talking to UK Athletics and other sporting bodies.

UK Athletics, based at Loughborough University, said "no decisions have been made yet".

The loan for the redevelopment will be paid for out of the rent of the offices, councillor Martin Mullaney said.

The stadium wants to be considered as a venue for UK Athletics' Diamond League, but in its current state does not have enough capacity as the minimum requirement is 15,000 seats, the council said.

Temporary seating could be added to the 12,800 capacity depending on demand, the spokesman added.

The Diamond League is composed of more than a dozen meetings across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the US with 32 disciplines distributed amongst the meetings.

Mike Whitby, the leader of the council, said the stadium project added to the sporting reputation of the city, which is already hosting the US and Jamaican Olympics teams in 2012.

"We play host to gold medal hopefuls from the USA and Jamaica ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games and, to build on that success, we need the facilities required for the world's best athletes to compete here on a regular basis.

"That's exactly what this project will achieve and we're once again showing Birmingham has the commitment needed to be a significant player in world sport."

Work will begin next month and is due to be operational by June 2011.

The proposals have been developed with Birchfield Harriers, the resident club at the stadium.

The council said bodies that have expressed a commitment for accommodation include UK Athletics, English Athletics, English Institute of Sport and Corporate Sporting Events.

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