Beds, Herts & Bucks

Milton Keynes wins European City of Sport title

StadiumMK Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption StadiumMK is a host venue for the UEFA Women's Euro's Football tournament in 2021

Milton Keynes has won its bid to be a named as a European City of Sport for 2020.

It was awarded by the European Cities and Capitals of Sport Federation (ACES Europe) which champions using sport to improve people's quality of life.

A year of events is now being planned to raise awareness of existing sports and activity in the town.

Mayor Sam Crooks said: "We hope that this will help unlock new opportunities."

ACES Europe awards the title to a number of places each year.

In 2020, there will be about a dozen, including Cosenza in Italy and Cakovec in Croatia.

The European Capital of Sport has been named as Malaga in Spain.

'Forward-thinking'

Milton Keynes won the title after hosting a visit by delegates and was praised for its sporting provision, partnership approach and for being forward-thinking and innovative, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

As well as promoting existing sporting activity, other events will put sport in the spotlight in the build-up for the UEFA Women's Euro's Football tournament in 2021, for which StadiumMK is a host venue.

The status will not mean any European Union money coming to MK but at the time of the bid, the council said it hoped it would encourage the town to become a healthier place to live and work.

Mr Crooks announced the bid's success at a meeting of the full Milton Keynes Council.

Previously the Conservative group had said there were better ways to fund grassroots sport than spending up to £150,000 on bidding for the title.

The Labour group in September 2018 defended the decision, arguing the gains would be social, health and financial.

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