Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium has been awarded hosting rights for the 2026 edition of the European Athletics Championships.
It will mark the first time that a British city has hosted the event and comes after Alexander Stadium served as the main venue for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham earlier this year.
Birmingham was awarded the hosting rights on Friday during the European Athletics Council meeting in Warsaw, Poland. Budapest had been in the running but withdrew its bid ahead of the meeting.
Alexander Stadium hosted a sold-out athletics programme during the Commonwealth Games. The venue underwent a £72m (€82.3m/$84.7m) revamp to make it Games-ready, with its permanent capacity increasing from 12,700 to 18,000.
European Athletics president Dobromir Karamarinov said: “The British public has a huge appreciation for world-class athletics and the British crowds are among the most knowledgeable, passionate and enthusiastic anywhere in the world. We saw this recently at the Commonwealth Games where the stands were at full capacity, even for the morning sessions.
“We are sure that Europe’s best athletes will be competing in a full stadium every day and in front of a huge television audience not just in Europe but globally as well. We really couldn’t ask for a better host city and venue for our showcase event in 2026.”
Jack Buckner, chief executive of UK Athletics, added: “We are delighted and honoured that we have been awarded the privilege of hosting the European Athletics Championships in 2026 in Birmingham.
“It is wonderful news for athletics and benefits the whole of the UK in demonstrating our ability to host major events across the whole country. UKA has held a long-time wish to deliver this event and we thank European Athletics for its faith in entrusting us with its most important competition.
“Our vision for the Championships is about record-breaking ticket sales and an amazing atmosphere for athletes to be inspired inside and outside the stadium. We have promised to deliver an amazing, innovative and game-changing Championships, and we’re excited we can now put this plan into action.”
Temporary seating meant that Alexander Stadium could host up to 30,000 spectators during the Commonwealth Games and Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet convened last month to discuss legacy plans for the venue and surrounding parkland.
Alexander Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies at the Games, as well as all of the athletics and para-athletics events. The stadium’s temporary overlay is currently being removed to leave a legacy facility that will serve as a focal point for sport, health, wellbeing and community activity in the local area.
The next edition of the European Athletics Championships will take place in Rome from June 7-12, 2024. Dates for the 2026 event in Birmingham have not yet been announced.
Birmingham has previously hosted the European Athletics Indoor Championships in 2007, as well as the 2003 and 2018 World Athletics Indoor Championships.