Reporting from Milan, Italy – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Friday signed a letter confirming his government’s backing of the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid.
The letter was delivered by Undersecretary of State Giancarlo Giorgetti to International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission Chair Octavian Morariu at the Palazzo Reale in Milan.
Along with guaranteeing to provide health and security, visa support, protection of human rights and other essential services – the government has agreed to support infrastructure projects, especially if they improve accessibility for those who need it.
“I am satisfied and excited about the result achieved,” Giorgetti said.
“Our sport deserves it and all those who have committed themselves to make possible the candidacy of Milano-Cortina for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
“I want to thank everyone and in particular Premier Giuseppe Conte who always has supported the project.”
The government, as it was announced by Giorgetti alongside the visiting IOC bid Evaluation Commission in Venice Monday, will commit up to 415 million euros (USD $466 million) to the Games.
Giorgetti said the investment is justified based on a government report that said the state could receive 600 million euros revenue as a result of hosting the Games.
Italy’s Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio said to reporters “I confirm that as a central government we will support the Olympics for safety and security costs investments but it is important not to create cathedrals in the desert, but something functional for companies and investments.”
Last September when a three-city proposal also including Turin collapsed and Milan and Cortina moved forward without the 2006 Olympic host city, Giorgetti declared the bid “dead” and said his government would not spend a single euro to support it.
But since then national leaders have warmed up to the idea as their chances improved after a bid from Calgary, Canada withdrew from the race when losing a city-wide referendum, and current rival bid Stockholm-Are from Sweden has struggled to win approval from the government.
The signed guarantee catapults the Italian bid to the front of the race with Sweden still searching for government support it must find ahead of an April 12 IOC deadline.
Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malagò told GamesBids.com that he had spoken to the Prime Minister on the phone from Rome Friday morning to confirm the signing of the guarantee letter.
The positive news in Italy was presented to the IOC Evaluation Commission who were meeting with the bid committee at the Palazzo Reale in Milan to discuss the Olympic bid book and findings from venue tours that have occurred across Northern Italy since Tuesday.
Commission Chair Octavian Morariu summed up his visit to Italy so far with two words: “passion and spirit.”
He applauded the government revenue study and said “it proves the positive effects of the Olympic Games not only socially but also economically.”
“We traveled a lot, it’s true, but what we saw and what we learned was worth the trip,” he added, referring to the almost 900 km the IOC has traveled in buses from Venice, to Cortina and across the Dolomites to Livigno and then finally to Milan.
“The bidding venues were among the best in the world.”
Meetings will conclude at the Palazzo Reale Saturday morning followed by a press conference where the IOC is expected to release results of a public opinion poll taken across Italy earlier this year.
The Commission will be received Friday evening at Villa Necchi for an official dinner.
More to come…
GamesBids.com will be reporting from Italy this week until April 7, bringing you on-site coverage of the important Evaluation Commission visit. Follow us on Twitter @GamesBids or on Facebook to keep up with this event.