It had been expected that the 26 initial bids would be reduced to seven or eight. But the Sports Minister, Iain Sproat, and the United Kingdom Sports Council chairman, Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth, yesterday unveiled a surprisingly large list of 13.
Among the favourites are the British Olympic Association bid, the Central Consortium and the "Athletes' Bid". It is planned that the winning bid will be announced early next year, when a formal application for Lottery funding will be made.
BAS SHORTLIST: The Athletes' Bid (Herts); Bath; Birmingham West Midlands; BOA (Upper Heyford); Central Consortium (Loughborough, Nottingham, and Lilleshall); De Montfort University (Leicester, Bedford); Houghton Grange (Huntingdon); Kent Thameside; Manchester; Merseyside; Sheffield; Sports City Foundation (Kettering); UK Academy 2000 (Yorkshire).