In an early move that is both surprising and welcomed by 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid stakeholders in Switzerland, the federal government announced Friday that it is preparing to provide financial support to projects vying to bring the Games back to Switzerland for the first time since 1948.
A decision to back an Olympic bid wasn’t expected from the Federal government until a specific project is chosen later next year, but Friday’s announcement that “the Federal Council decided to set up an interdepartmental working group that will support the primary responsibility of the Swiss candidature” has buoyed four regional projects that are currently preparing documentation to support their candidacies. The documents, due December 15, will help Swiss Olympic and the Sports Parliament determine in March if a national bid will move forward, and with which project.
The proposed projects include “The Swiss Made Games,” “Olympic Winter Games 2026 Graubünden and partners,” “2026 – Games for our future” and “Switzerland 2026.”
The federal report also said “the Federal Council is prepared to contribute to the cost of the Olympics. The form and amount of this support will be decided later.”
The Federal Council says if the Sports Parliament ratifies a decision to promote a bid on the international stage when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) accepts applications beginning the end of 2017 – it will determine the details of the financial support during autumn 2017.
However, local news reports citing several sources have revealed that the Swiss Federal Council had already discussed last week a Games funding size of one billion Swiss francs (USD $989 million) should Switzerland be chosen to host the Games.
“The Federal Council’s decision will depend on the financial feasibility of the support of the population in the regions and the municipalities concerned and the concept of sustainability, which will provide a comprehensive picture of the impact of the Winter Olympics in our country,” the government statement said.
Jean-Philippe Rochat, President of the “The Swiss Made Games” involving the cantons Valais and Vaud and the city of Sion said to local media “we did not expect this so early.”
“This is an important element and also simplifies the discussions with municipalities and cantons.”
The IOC will open the 2026 bid campaign in next year with an “invitation stage” designed to create positive dialogue with the potential bid cities before a bid is committed. The candidates will then begin international campaigns in 2018 with a decision expected by the IOC late in 2019.
International bids for the 2026 Games are being considered by Innsbruck, Stockholm, Calgary and 2022 bid runner-up Almaty, Kazakhstan. Other possible bidders may come from Germany and Italy.