Berne Officially Withdraws Bid

A referendum last week revealing that Berne voters did not want to pay for an Olympics has become a fatal blow to the city’s 2010 Winter Games candidacy leaving only Pyeongchang, Salzburg and Vancouver as potential hosts.

A decision to withdraw the bid was announced after a board meeting of Berne 2010 Ltd., the organization set up to campaign for the Games.

“It should come as no surprise. We are going to withdraw our bid,” said Silvio Weilenmann, the Berne organizing committee spokesman, according to a Reuters report.

The bid’s biggest challenge has been rallying local support according to Berne 2010 Director General Dres von Weissenfluh who spoke with earlier this month. In their mini bid-book Berne suggested that there was 62% local support while the IOC’s poll showed only 42%. Cost overruns at Expo 2002 in Switzerland caused much of the recent local resistance to funding the Games.

Berne already paid US$100,000 for the right to be an applicant but won’t have to pay the US$500,000 fee required from candidates by the end of October.

Berne’s bid was considered behind Vancouver and Salzburg, but also thought to be a sentimental risk. Switzerland’s last bid for the Games, Sion 2006, seemed destined to win until the IOC “snubbed” the Swiss in favour of the Italian bid. A Swiss IOC member was the so-called “whistle-blower” who revealed the Salt Lake Scandal. Some believe IOC members might have given Switzerland another chance. BidIndex will be updated next week to reflect recent changes, including the delisting of Berne.