By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Liverpool's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games could include using existing facilities in Manchester or other cities, a source close to the bid told Reuters on Saturday.
The British government has asked its cities to draw up detailed plans to stage the Games, as it prepared a bid to take over the event from dropped host Durban.
The South African city lost the right to hold the games following a trail of missed deadlines and financial problems.
Australian cities Sydney and Melbourne have also shown interest in taking on the 2022 event. The 2018 Games will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
Liverpool has already begun putting together a bid team headed by former English Football Association chief executive and current Rugby Football League chair Brian Barwick.
Manchester successfully hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and has yet to formally declare an interest in the 2022 event.
A Manchester City Council spokesman said: "We welcome the announcement that the government is supporting a UK bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Manchester, which hosted a memorable games in 2002 with a successful legacy, has always considered itself part of the Commonwealth Games family and remains happy to help if called upon to do so".
While, there is no suggestion of a formal, jointly-branded proposal, the source close to Liverpool's bid said they would be open to discussions with Manchester and possibly other cities regarding cooperation for 2022, in order to efficiently make use of existing facilities.
Manchester, which is just 30 miles from Liverpool, has a top-class velodrome and swimming venue.
A statement from Britain's Department of Culture, Media and Sport on Friday said such cooperation would be accepted as part of the process.
"The government will consider multi-city proposals, as well as applications from individual cities which will be assessed to ensure they offer value for money. The process will end later in the year when the government will decide if the UK will put forward a formal bid," read the statement.
Birmingham has set up a bid organisation, whose effort is expected to be backed by the City Council's cabinet.
The Commonwealth Games Federation is due to decide where the 2022 Games will be staged later this year.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis)