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Wales bins Commonwealth bid, UK Sport hires performance chief and Aston Villa heads to India

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As we reach the final countdown for the Rio 2016 Games, one event we can be certain won’t be happening is the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Wales after the government pulled out of the race, citing expense and Brexit as the reason for its ‘u-turn’.

However, as part of the decision to pull out, economy and infrastructure minister Ken Skates fired the starting gun on a wide-ranging facilities review review, with the ambition of creating more “world-class” venues for the nation.

Following the announcement, Skates told Sports Management that the government would be working with the Welsh Local Government Association and Sport Wales to set out the terms of reference for the review to “determine our key priorities for new sports facilities along with an investment schedule”.

People moves

Talking of major events, the Rio 2016 Games will be the last major competition Simon Timson oversees as UK Sport director of performance. His replacement was unveiled this week in the form of Chelsea Warr, who served as his deputy since 2013.

Warr will take up her post in October 2016 as Timson heads off to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

Irish Institute of Sport director Gary Keegan will also leave his position with the high-performance organisation following the Paralympics, while the Football Association has turned to former Football League chair Greg Clarke to steer the body through choppy waters following a poor Euro 2016 from the England team and ongoing government scrutiny regarding its governance structure.

Villa in India

Not content with making Aston Villa “one of the biggest football clubs in China”, new owner Tony Xia highlighted his Indian ambition by launching a football academy in New Delhi, and declaring he wanted similar facilities all over the densely-populated nation.

The deal will also see the Championship club launch its own Indian Super League team.

Coming up

Keep an eye out for the upcoming Rio 2016 special edition of Sports Management, published this week. The edition includes an interview with AECOM principal Bill Hanway, the man behind the Rio masterplan, and features an in-depth look at all the facilities and venues for the Games.

Elsewhere, we take a look at UK Sport’s new talent identification programme – in which the quango is attempting to find the Olympians and Paralympians of the future – and the government’s blossoming relationship with rugby league. Sign up here to receive your digital copy.

As well as the start of the Olympic Games, Friday (5 August) also ushers in the new Football League season. Among the teams dreaming of success is Bristol City, who will go into the campaign with a newly-built Ashton Gate ground. Click here to find out why it is set to become one of the most eco-friendly stadiums in the country.

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As we reach the final countdown for the Rio 2016 Games, one event we can be certain won’t be happening is the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Wales after the government pulled out of the race, citing expense and Brexit as the reason for its ‘u-turn’.
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