Birmingham’s chances of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games have been boosted after it was revealed that two UK rivals have dropped out.
London and Manchester have withdrawn their interest leaving Birmingham competing with Liverpool for the UK nomination.
Only Birmingham and Liverpool had submitted official applications by the Government deadline of Friday, May 12.
Manchester has said it will now join forces and help its fellow northern city, Liverpool, get the nomination.
Birmingham is in an strong position, already having a feasibility study by Origin Sport Group showing how it could be hosted here.
The bid, which has the backing of the newly-elected West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, would stand to boost long-held hopes of bringing better transport infrastructure to outlying parts of the city centre.
The West Midlands Combined Authority, a coalition of 18 local authorities and four Local Enterprise Partnerships, are also fully behind the Birmingham bid.
Durban, in South Africa, was originally due to hold the 2022 games, but was stripped of the right in March because the city hadn’t made enough progress since being awarded the status in September 2015.
But the Games could yet go to Australia, Canada or Malaysia.
Toronto or Victoria are the potential Canadian cities, while Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney have been lined up as Australia’s candidates.
A panel of international experts and Commonwealth Games Federation staff are expected to investigate the bids put forward by the countries before making a recommendation by mid-summer or the autumn.
If Birmingham is chosen, events will take place across the city, including the Barclaycard Arena and the Alexander Stadium.
A new swimming facility is understood to be planned for the Black Country, indoor halls would be used at the Ricoh Arena and venues in Staffordshire would also be utilised.
Hockey and squash competitions would be held at the University of Birmingham.