THE former head of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is backing the bid to bring one of the world’s biggest LGBTI sports events to Scotland.

Last month thousands of people travelled to Helsinki in Finland for the 2016 EuroGames, which aims to combat discrimination in sport by encouraging more LGBTI people to compete.

The total number of visitors has not yet been calculated, but last year’s event in Stockholm brought 4,500 athletes from more than 40 countries to the Swedish city, with an estimated 10,000 people travelling to the city overall.

Now plans are underway to hold the 2020 event in Glasgow.

Backed by Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg, the bid would use the infrastructure created for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – which Grevemberg headed – to build on the event’s legacy.

In a supporting statement, Grevemberg said: “Sport has a hugely important social role to play, connecting people from around the world and inspiring us to celebrate together. Major sporting events give us the opportunity to create defining moments that build awareness, advocate our values and showcase positive actions that build pride and prosperity.

“Thanks to a truly memorable Commonwealth Games in 2014, I know only too well that Glasgow is a uniquely welcoming and friendly city with a proud community at its heart.

“It is the perfect place to host the EuroGames and I wholeheartedly back this bid.”

Work is currently ongoing on the bid, which must by submitted by December 31, with the process spearheaded by LEAP Sports Scotland, a nationwide agency aimed at breaking down barriers to sport for LGBTI Scots.

Studies have shown many feel excluded from or unable to take part in team and competitive sports due to discrimination.

Hugh Torrance, executive director of LEAP, told The National: “There is still work ahead to consider the feasibility, secure funding and finalise proposals, but with the final deadline for the bid being December 31 we are keen to start raising the profile of the games and develop dialogue with stakeholders across the country – LGBTI people who will want to take part and compete, the general public who might want to take part, volunteer or support the games, and sports clubs and associations, organisations and businesses who will work towards making the games a huge success.”

“Out” swimmer Martin Cremin, a member of Team Scotland in 2014, has added his support to the “#BuildTheBid” campaign.

So has Sophie Cook, Europe’s first transgender news anchor, as well as Scots MPs Margaret Ferrier and Stuart Macdonald.

While 16 sports were included in the Helsinki programme, Torrance aims to run 23 in Glasgow, including track and field, swimming, ballroom dancing and triathlon events.

Competitors of all levels are welcome, with the prospect of fielding an independent Team Scotland also possible.

Initial funding talks have been held with Glasgow Life and EventScotland, with LEAP also planning to fundraise to reach a total goal of £800,000-£1 million.

German city Dusseldorf is the only other to have declared an intention to bid so far, but Torrance believes the European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation, which organises the EuroGames, will find in Glasgow’s favour.

He believes the show of inclusivity which marked the opening of the Commonwealth Games, when star John Barrowman kissed a man at a mock Gretna Green, has boosted the city’s equality credentials.

Pride House was also open to

LGBTI athletes and visitors during the event in an initiative run by LEAP.

Torrance said: “It is achievable. During the Commonwealth Games we sent out a powerful message that here in Scotland we really support equality, we really stand up for human rights. The games have never been in the UK before but they have been held in Germany a couple of times. We are in a strong position.”

EventScotland confirmed talks had begun and Glasgow Life did not respond to a request for comment.

To add your support to the campaign, print off a virtual jigsaw piece from and tweet your picture to @LEAPSports with the hashtag #BuildTheBid.