Milan Withdraws From Italian 2026 Olympic Bid Amid CONI Approval of Three-City Joint Project

The City of Milan has reportedly dropped its bid to be host city for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) found in an evaluation study that a joint bid along with Turin and Cortina d’Ampezzo would be the strategic way forward.  Milan could still, however, participate by hosting some events without being involved in the Games’ governance.

Italy 2026 Masterplan (Source: CONI)

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE Italy 2026 Master Plan (Source: CONI)

CONI members later voted to unanimously approve the three-city joint bid Wednesday during a scheduled meeting in Rome, with the National Council expected to rubber-stamp the decision later in the afternoon.

CONI President Giovanni Malagò had said of the joint proposal “there will not be a leading city: it is an absolute novelty in the history of the candidature process and we have obtained from the IOC [International Olympic Committee] this possibility” of a regional bid.

But later, Milan officials rejected the idea.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala wrote in a letter to Malagò, according to ANSA “in the decision for the bid for the 2026 Games, political reasons are prevailing over sporting and regional ones.”

“For the spirit of service to the Country, Milan confirms its availability –  where required, only as a venue for competitions or events.

“Given the current conditions, [Milan] does not consider its participation in the governance of 2026 feasible.”

Malagò shrugged off Sala’s remarks, saying that nothing has changed and the three-city plan will move forward as approved.

He added “Governance will have to be implemented and defined when what is today a candidature will become an Olympics.”

“At the moment we are only candidates, we did not win the Olympics, we have signed up for the race.”

According to plans, Milan would host many of the ice events including curling, ice hockey, figure skating and short track, sliding and alpine events would be staged in Cortina and hockey and speed skating would be held in Turin.  Each city cluster would have its own media and broadcast centres and Athletes’ Villages.

CONI President Giovanni Malagò (Rome 2024)

CONI President Giovanni Malagò (Rome 2024)

Malagò had explained Tuesday, as noted by Il Post “we have made a diplomatic masterpiece respecting all the candidates, trying not to disappoint anyone and evaluating the cost-benefit ratio.”

“This is the hypothesis that costs less, because we have tried to take the best of the opportunities presented by each city.

“An application like this [joint bid] would have much more chance of winning the final.”

A statement released by CONI read:

“The Italian National Olympic Committee unanimously resolves to send the proposal for candidacy for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games of the cities of Milan, Turin and Cortina for an innovative project intended to guarantee a balance between the respective territorial areas through the reinforcement of cohesion and respect between the areas identified to host the Games and the identification of solutions that provide the best chance for success of the candidacies for all of Italy.”

On Tuesday Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino had rejected the possibility of Milan leading a joint 2026 bid, explaining “Turin will not be a crutch to other cities.”

Italy is set to put forth the bid to compete against Calgary in Canada, Stockholm in Sweden, Sapporo in Japan and Erzurum in Turkey.

The IOC will select a short list of qualified candidates in October and elect a host city September 2019.

The election is due to take place at an IOC Session in Milan, however rules prohibit any site selection votes from occurring in the nation of one of the bids.  Should Italy’s candidate be added to the short list – the Session will have to be relocated.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.