This article was supposed to explore the city of Leicester’s credentials to become one of the host cities for the 2018 World Cup which England was bidding for. Late last year, Leicester found out it wasn’t!
The bid was been backed by celebrities and sporting hero’s such as Gary Lineker, Martin Johnson, Willie Thorn legendary Snooker player, Sergio Pizzorno from Kasabian, Dalip Tahir from Bollywood, Munaf Patel the Indian cricketer and Austin Healey. They all cited that Leicester is a passionate city full of enthusiasm for Football, Cricket and Rugby amongst other sports.
The geographical factor also contributes to Leicester’s attraction as a host city, as in fact the most central point in England is a farm in Leicestershire, surely something so central which has transport links by train, roads M1, M69, M6 Motorways and airport in the form of East Midlands Airport can only be ideal. Also the capital city London is only hour away and Manchester about 2 hours away therefore getting around to see more than one match wouldn’t be a problem.
Leicester has a proven track record of hosting big events such as Special Olympics, 1 big Sunday where over 90,000 people attended, International football and Rugby matches, coping with over 50,000 fans when both Leicester City and Leicester Tigers have played on the same day which shows the city can cope with large crowds. Not forgetting the hosting of cricket world cup matches which also proved a massive success.
Large parks in the vicinity of the ground such as Victoria Park, Abbey Park and Nelson Mandela Park as places for fans to gather, to watch matches on big screens therefore bringing extra fan thus revenue into Leicester for the World Cup experience. Training facilities would be abundantly available with Welford Road, Leicester City and Leicester Tigers training grounds, Loughborough University and Grace Road available for use.
In the era of reducing carbon emissions and being “green” the main attraction where the matches would’ve been hosted, the Walkers Stadium has been built with expansion in mind and it has permission from the local authority to increase the capacity to over 50,000. This means it will have minimal environmental impact as opposed to rival bidding cities where a new stadium would need to be built also ensuring costs are minimised.
I believe Leicester should’ve been chosen because it has been commended for its multi cultural integration and has many thriving neighbourhoods where people from all ethnicities are living in harmony and I feel it is testament to the spirit within the city. I feel the world should get a chance to see what a multi cultural city like Leicester can offer and learn lessons on how to socially engineer such neighbourhoods. Only recently in the news a representative from South Africa said England’s bid needs a unique selling point and I believe Leicester is the jewel in England’s crown.
I’m afraid to say it but “we’ve always been the under-dogs”…