Winning the World Transplant Games bid

July 28, 2016
By Yuri Matischen, Managing Director at MLS
Winning the World Transplant Games bid
After a tough bidding process, I am excited to announce that the next World Transplant Games will be hosted right here in the UK.

The team and I at MLS worked closely with representatives from the NewcastleGateshead Initiative to develop a winning bid in support of the official bidding organisation, Transplant Sport UK. This result means the Games will be arriving in NewcastleGateshead in 2019, and the event is expected to attract up to 3,000 participants from more than 60 different countries and will raise an estimated £4m.

The bid was a real team effort, with key partners including Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Westfield Health and Graham Wylie, chair of the local organising committee.

It is a great achievement, particularly because we faced global competition from a number of cities and we were up against a strong bid from Houston, Texas in the final rounds.

Our involvement comes about on the back of having organised the last eight Westfield Health British Transplant Games, which were last in Sheffield in 2013, and demonstrates how Sheffield companies Westfield Health and MLS have partnered successfully for many years in promoting the Organ Donor Register nationally. Now we will be working internationally through the World Games in 2019.

The World Games take place every two years, having last been staged in the UK in 1995, in Manchester. Anyone aged between 4 and 80 can get involved in the tournaments, and there will be over 50 events to participate in, including swimming, athletics, golf and cycling.

With the hope of making the event truly inspiring, we are planning on holding contests at indoor and outdoor venues across the city, and we are also looking to stage an International Symposium on Transplantation at the same time.

The opportunity means so much to us, not only from a company perspective, as sport and leisure consultants, but also because we are passionate about raising awareness of transplantation and organ donation across the country.

Around 6,500 people in the UK are on the transplant waiting list, but there are many more who desperately need a transplant. Each competitor is fit and healthy as a result of a successful organ transplant, and we hope to honour this through the Games while also encouraging more people to sign up to the Donor list.

Since we’ll be based in the Park Community Arena on the Olympic Legacy Park (OLP) by then, the Games will hold even more significance for us. The goals of the World Transplant Games parallel many of the OLP’s -  supporting people in leading fit, healthy lives and using the power of sport to achieve this. The Games allow transplant survivors to compete in sports at a global level, and, like the Olympics, they leave an inspiring legacy not just for those competing but also for everyone involved.

We look forward to 2019 and hope that the Games will promote an increase in organ donations more than ever before, but most importantly be an occasion to celebrate life and be enjoyed by all!

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit