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Article published 28/12/2022

Glasgow becomes European Capital of Sport for the second time

Glasgow is taking on the mantle of European Capital of Sport (ECOS) 2023 - and becomes the first city to hold the title twice, 20 years after first achieving the accolade.

Glasgow is a global sporting city and world leader in using sport to change lives, and the first phase of an ECOS fund has awarded more than £50,000 to communities across the city to increase opportunities for people to take part in sport and get active. 

Glasgow Life, the charity that delivers culture and sport in Glasgow, is providing funding to 70 sporting organisations throughout the city that applied for £750 grants to support people to get active, regardless of background or ability. 

The ECOS fund prioritises projects which support underrepresented groups, such as women and girls, ethnic minorities, those with disabilities and low-income families.

The first round of grants is aimed at activities between January and June 2023, ranging from grassroots sporting events and open days to new club sessions and community-based programmes. The second phase of the ECOS fund, for projects taking place from July until December, will open on 1 April and close on 8 May.

What to look out for in 2023

Monthly ECOS 2023 themes like ‘Health and wellbeing’ in March and ‘Sport for communities’ in May will tie in with regular challenges and social media initiatives to encourage Glasgow’s residents and visitors to get out and get active.

Glasgow will also welcome the globe’s greatest riders for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships when the inaugural contest hits roads and tracks across Scotland in August. Two-hundred rainbow jerseys will be up for grabs over 13 UCI Cycling World Championships, including BMX Racing, Indoor Cycling, Mountain Bike Downhill and Road events.

As 2023 progresses, September’s ‘Sport and physical activity for all ages’ theme will see initiatives and challenges devised to help deliver another of Glasgow’s ECOS goals: supporting positive ageing, building wellbeing, and promoting connections within and between diverse communities. The year will culminate in a celebration of sport and activity in December, coinciding with Glasgow’s Sport Awards.

Cyclists in Glasgow's Velodrome
Cyclists in Glasgow's Velodrome
Image credit Glasgow Life

A world class sporting city

Glasgow's successful bid to be named ECOS 2023 was confirmed in 2019 by ACES Europe, a non-profit association based in Brussels, Belgium.

Receiving the baton from The Hague in the Netherlands, Glasgow's ECOS 2023 status officially kicks off as Rangers face Celtic at Ibrox stadium on 2 January, with both clubs joining forces with fellow ECOS partners Glasgow Warriors and Drumchapel Community Sport Hub to help promote sport in the city throughout 2023.

The city's second stint as ECOS celebrates two decades of success, development and investment including the contribution made by coaches and volunteers during a time when Glasgow established its place among the world's top sporting cities. Over the last 20 years, Glasgow has invested more than £200 million in its world-class sporting venues, including the Emirates Arena, Glasgow BMX Centre, and the refurbished Kelvin Hall. 

Glasgow has hosted a series of world-class events at outstanding venues during this period, including the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships at the Hydro, the first-ever European Championships in 2018 at the Emirates Arena and UEFA EURO 2020 fixtures at Hampden Park, attracting thousands of top-level athletes and spectators from around the world in the process.

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