The Swiss Federal Government Wednesday finally agreed in principal to back a bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games from Sion after preliminary talks last week stalled and had delayed the decision.
The endorsement means the government will provide funding of up to CHF8 million to campaign for the Games, and should they be won, an additional CHF1 billion (USD $1 billion) could be extended to organize the Games. The bid must still be approved by the Parliament and through a public referendum in Valais canton next fall before it can move forward.
The government decision is still seen as a major step where in Europe it has been a challenge to gain traction with public entities towards hosting an Olympic Games.
“The government sees the Olympic Winter Games as a great opportunity for sport, the economy and society in Switzerland,” a Swiss government statement said.
The backing is contingent on the bid utilizing mostly existing venues and infrastructure to design the Games’ master plan, which will help keep costs and risks low.
Along with the $1 billion government commitment, the IOC contribution of $925 million and other revenue sourced from sponsorship and ticket sales, Sion 2026 President Jean-Philippe Rochat believes he has the funding he needs to deliver the project.
On Sunday bid rival Innsbruck was defeated after 53.35 percent voted against the project in a referendum across Tyrol. Calgary, Stockholm and Salt Lake City are considering bids for the Games as will as Almaty in Kazakhstan and Sapporo in Japan.
The host city election will take place September 2019 in Milan.