On Friday, the state council for the Canton of Fribourg endorsed the Sion 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid, including the plan for a federal contribution of almost 1 billion Swiss francs to the project.
Fribourg is a proposed site for Ice Hockey in the Games’ plan, and government officials were behind the “well thought out” financial plan that utilizes existing venues for the events. The government warned, however, not to ignore the financial risks related to security costs around the event.
On Thursday it was the Executive Council of the canton of Bern that agreed to approve the plans to move the bid forward, including the federal funding. Ice hockey, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined events have been identified as possible events to be staged in the canton.
Bern officials included a stipulation, however, that all financing be secured and that no new facilities be constructed for the Games.
Last year the Swiss Federal Council agreed to underwrite the Games for up to 1 billion francs and is expected to confirm that decision in June. A binding referendum across Valais will take place June 10 to determine whether a bid can proceed.
On Tuesday the lower chamber of Parliament voted to hold a binding national referendum to approve the bid but it will require the ratification of the upper chamber before proceeding. No date for a vote has been scheduled.
If Sion’s bid makes it past the political roadblocks it could face other interested international cities including Calgary, Graz, Sapporo and Stockholm. Other cites have until a March 31 deadline to express their interest to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Currently Lillehammer and either Turin or Milan in Italy are considering filing their interest.
The IOC will elect the winning host city September 2019.