The English National Badminton Championships will leave Manchester and move to the arena at stadium:mk from next year, it has been announced.
The Championships have been held in Manchester for the last nine years, but following the news that BADMINTON England has received planning permission for a new £22 million headquarters at the National Bowl, the competition has been moved to Milton Keynes.
The 2014 Championships, which will be held from February 7-9, will be the first sporting event to take place in the arena next to stadium:mk and will showcase the best badminton talent in England.
Adrian Christy, chief executive of BADMINTON England, said: “I would firstly like to express our appreciation of the tremendous support we have enjoyed from Manchester City Council over the past nine years. They have been an incredible partner and we look forward to working with them on other projects in the future.
“The time was right to move and we were inundated with towns and cities around the country wanting to host the Championships, but in the end we were keen to bring the Nationals to our home city.
“Sport matters to Milton Keynes and the support English badminton receives from Milton Keynes Council, MK Dons FC and numerous other partners is extraordinary.
“We know from the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships, the World Championships 2011 and the London Olympic Games, that we have a fantastic fan base who love badminton. I am therefore delighted that we can recognise that support by bringing a major event into the city.”
Andrew Geary, leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “This is great news for MK and is another step in our ambition to be a truly International Sporting City.
“Milton Keynes is one of the most accessible locations in the country and the transport infrastructure around the city must be one of the best in the UK.
“We therefore look forward to not only welcoming fans from Milton Keynes to the Championships, but fans from all over the country to the arena at stadium:mk.”
Pete Winkelman, chairman of MK Dons, added: “We are incredibly excited to be welcoming the English National Badminton Championships to the Arena at stadiummk, which will be the first major sporting event to be held in the venue.
“Hopefully this event can help attract a whole new audience to the sport ahead of Badminton England’s move into their new facilities in 2015.”