Top sports stars, leading politicians and leaders from the worlds of business and the health service are all backing Stirling’s bid to host Scotland’s proposed £25 million National Performance Centre for Sport.
Britain’s top tennis player, Andy Murray has already declared his support as has Britain’s most successful football manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. They have been joined by Keith Brown, SNP MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane and Scotland’s Transport Minister and Sir Craig Reedie, Vice-President of the International Olympic committee and Executive Counsel to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games team.
Final details of the joint bid from the University of Stirling and Stirling Council were lodged with sportscotland today (Friday July 5). Three options have been shortlisted, the others being in Dundee and Edinburgh.
A full list of those endorsing Stirling is included in their bid document and it includes former Olympic curling gold medallist, Rhona Martin, Dave Crosbee, Curling’s Performance director, Keith Oliver, chairman of Cricket Scotland, top tennis player, Jamie Murray, Kieran Achara, a Great Britain international basketball player, Susan Egelstaff, former Commonwealth badminton bronze medallist, Jane Ross, star of the Scottish Women’s football team, Scott McCowan, GB Boccia Paralympian and Alex Smith MBE, technical director of Falkirk FC.
Four other Scottish local authorities have given their backing- East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire- along with NHS Forth Valley and Bridge of Allan Community Council.
They were joined by a host of top names from the world of politics who have connections to the University.
The Rt. Hon Sir George Reid, former MP and MSP for the area said: “The University has an international reputation for sports performance and associated academic research. The city brings together organisations from a very wide spread of athletic disciplines.
“Stirling has unique experience of establishing and managing high performance sports facilities. It sits at the centre of a network of sports governing bodies and knows how to facilitate the ‘joint working’, ‘collaborative culture’ and ‘maximising of resources’ which the Christie Commission advocated.
“I strongly commend the Stirling bid.”
A former First Minister of Scotland, Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale, an alumnus of the University said: “Long-term commitment to sport by both Stirling Council and the University of Stirling has created an enormous reservoir of knowledge, expertise, experience and resources that together provide solid foundations for the work of a National Sports Performance Centre. Stirling's substantial investment in sport will add value to every new pound of investment in a new centre and will give for this important initiative a head start".
Other Peers to give support included Lord McFall of Alcluith and Lord Reid of Cardowan and they have been joined by Bruce Crawford SNP MSP for Stirling and Dennis Canavan, former MP for Falkirk.
The design brief for the new facility calls for “an environment that impresses and inspires athletes, establishing a world class destination where Scotland’s elite athletes can focus on their sport.”
The NPCS will be a performance improvement resource for a range of sports including football and tennis. The design will also include Hampden sized indoor and outdoor football pitches as well as dedicated high quality residential accommodation.
All of those endorsing the Stirling bid emphasised its perfect central location and proven track record of supporting pathways to high performance sport as well as unrivalled training, research and sports science facilities.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling revealed that the University is investing an additional £4.8 million into the bid and said: “I firmly believe Stirling is the outstanding choice to be the home of the new National Performance Centre for Sport. Stirling will build on the excellent facilities and experience that already exist in the area. Our submission exceeds the core requirements, our business plan is sustainable and our bid is customer led taking into account the views of many sport governing bodies, the anchor tenant the Scottish FA and sportscotland”.
Councillor John Hendry, who is leading Stirling Council’s role in the bid process said: “We have been greatly encouraged by the nature and number of endorsements we have received for Stirling.
“Stirling Council has a wide range of modern facilities and resources for performance and community sport that will complement and support the work of the NPCS. High performance athletes are an inspiration for people of all ages. We provide pathways for young people to engage in sport and help to develop the most talented that the NPCS is designed for. On top of all that Stirling is central and easily reached by road and rail.”
The NPCS at Stirling will be designed by architects FaulknerBrowns who have more than 40 years of experience of delivering award winning sports facilities.
The name of the winning bid will be announced by the Scottish Government in September.