The completion date for Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, which will serve as the centrepiece of the city’s Commonwealth Games, has been pushed back to April 2022, just three months before the event is due to start.

The £72m (€80m/$91m) project will see the stadium’s capacity permanently increase from 12,700 to 18,000, with temporary seating for up to 40,000 spectators during major events. Work had initially been due to finish in late 2021 but Birmingham City Council has now confirmed this has been pushed back to the spring of the following year.

The council’s planning committee approved the project in January and Northern Irish construction firm McLaughlin & Harvey (MCLH) was awarded the contract to redevelop the stadium in March.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the construction timeline, with work on the Games’ Athletes Village also set for completion at the end of March 2022. The council is carrying out a detailed analysis of the impact of the pandemic in collaboration with its partners.

Although the council has insisted that the stadium is on budget and on schedule, it said in a statement reported by Birmingham Live: “The practical completion date for the legacy stadium is 1st April 2022.

“This is in advance of the date for exclusive use of the site by the B2022 Organising Committee, for their delivery of the additional overlay required to get the stadium ‘Games ready’.”

The redevelopment of Alexander Stadium will see a new western stand replace the Main, Knowles and Nelson stands at the venue. New tiered seating to the north and south will also be added, along with a new 400m, six-lane warm-up track. A new World Athletics Category 1 track will also be re-laid, while new lighting and a practice throwing field will be fitted.

The stadium work will form part of a wider £500m investment in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham over the coming years. Plans also include new housing, improved transport and related upgrades to infrastructure and public space.

After the Games, Alexander Stadium will serve as the home of the Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club, as well as Birmingham City University’s sports and exercise students.

Image: Birmingham City Council