In February 2016, The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council was delighted to be offered the opportunity to host the Commonwealth Youth Games in Belfast in 2021. Having received cross party support to stage the event, we anticipate that the benefits and legacy from the Games will not only have an impact on Belfast but on the whole of Northern Ireland. In addition to 1000 competitors, the Youth Games will attract officials, dignitaries and large numbers of visiting friends and family as well as provide the opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland as a world class tourist destination which has the ability to stage fantastic sporting events. Legacy programmes featuring sport initiatives, volunteering and social cohesion have already been developed. Underlining all of this is the unique opportunity to promote the Games Federation’s values of Humanity – Equality – Destiny and the sharing of ideas and culture with young people from across the world.
Funding support from government, at this point in time, has not been guaranteed for our Games organisation to progress in the expected way. We very much welcome the support from the Northern Ireland Sports Forum and their calling of an emergency meeting on Tuesday where all stakeholders are invited to attend to ensure that Belfast 2021 can be delivered.
NISF Chairperson Roy Millar MBE outlined Northern Ireland Sports Forum support for NI Commonwealth Games Council in their bid for Belfast 2021.
NISF is concerned that the hosting of these games in Belfast may be in jeopardy. We believe that the opportunity to build on recent successes of hosting international sporting events must not be taken from our finger tips. NISF believe that this is more than a sporting event. It is an opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland, our welcoming people, our world renowned hospitality and our massive tourism potential to a worldwide audience. Through further engagement coordinated by ourselves, we hope that the relevant stakeholders can come to an adequate and speedy resolution for the benefit of our athletes, our member organisations and Northern Ireland as a country.