Swiss Olympic, the nation’s sport governing body, announced that two projects have submitted candidature files ahead of Thursday’s deadline to remain in contention to win the nomination representing Switzerland’s bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
While five projects were initially proposed in March, one dropped out of competition in July and three others merged resulting in two final candidates. “Graubünden und Partner 2026” (Eastern Switzerland) and the merged bid “Sion 2026. The Games in The Heart of Switzerland” (Western Switzerland) will now be vetted and evaluated by a taskforce through February 2017.
On March 7 the Swiss Olympic Executive council will vote for the project they wish to move forward with if they decide that a bid is feasible, and the decision could be ratified at the Extraordinary Assembly of the Parliament of Sport on April 11.
But the likelihood that a Swiss bid will make the international stage was boosted last month when “the Federal Council decided to set up an interdepartmental working group that will support the primary responsibility of the Swiss candidature,” according to a government report.
The same report also hinted that federal funds would be made available to support a bid and various reports suggested that funding would be close to one billion Swiss francs (USD $989 million) should Switzerland be chosen to host the Games.
The Sion 2026 project is comprised of the original “Switzerland 2026”, “2026. Games for our future” and “Sion 2026. The Games in The Heart of Switzerland” campaigns.
Jörg Schild, President of Swiss Olympic said Thursday “we are very pleased to see that our work with the candidate regions has borne fruit. We wanted a collaborative process, during which ideas would come together, for the sake of a common goal: to offer Switzerland the great project it needs.”
“Today we have two extremely strong proposals, and we look forward to continuing to work together to further refine them, with the objective of nominating a strong, ambitious and realistic project, which will benefit the whole of Switzerland and the Olympic Movement.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will open the 2026 bid campaign 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.
However, last week at an Executive Board Meeting IOC President Thomas Bach promised that changes would be coming for the Olympic bid process, one that has become ineffective in attracting sufficient candidate cities and keeping organizing costs under control. The 2022 campaign saw only two candidates cross the finish line and so far for 2024 – two cities have been forced to withdraw after losing support – leaving only three in the race.
Switzerland last hosted the Winter Games in St. Moritz in 1948 but has bid for the event several times since. A lost referendum derailed a possible Davos-St. Moritz bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
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.