Reporting from Venice, Italy – The Italian Prime Minister is set to sign a letter of guarantee that it will fully support the Milano-Cortina 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid, it was announced in Venice Monday.
Italian under-secretary of Sport Giancarlo Giorgetti made the announcement of the government’s commitment to the bid at a press conference at the Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia.
We will be “signing the agreement on responsibilities and guarantees with an official letter that President Conte will sign in the next few days, I hope by Friday.”
“The commitment of the Italian government for the organization of the Olympic Games.
“We have achieved a good level of cooperation.”
Last year when a three-city deal also including Turin fell apart, Giorgetti said his government would never fund the project, though support for visas and the protection of human rights would be offered. In recent months the government stance has softened as other cities have dropped from the race and a sustainable plan has been developed.
The guarantee will cover the risky security budget for the Games, one of the largest line items that is difficult to estimate seven years out. The government will commit up to 415 million euros (USD $466 million) to the project, an amount, it says, that will be offset by expected state revenues of 600 million euros from the Games according to a study released last month.
The government also sees the Games as an opportunity to improve infrastructure that could be a positive legacy from the Games.
“We asked the bid committee to point out what the most important works are that can by signed by the government,” Giorgetti said.
“Is there a road or a structure the the government deems funding that may improve safety and infrastructure,” he asked, further outlining plans to use the Paralympics as a means to improve accessibility infrastructure for those with special mobility needs.
The news will put the Italian bid ahead of its rival from Sweden, where a Stockholm-Are proposal is struggling to win government assurances, and will receive no city funding but will instead be forced to lease public venues.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Winter Olympic bid Evaluation Commission team touched down in un-wintery Venice Monday afternoon to kick off a five-day visit to Italy that will conclude with a Saturday press conference in Milan. But the team of Games experts will turn in sunglasses for snow boots when they travel to Cortina-d’Ampezzo later Monday then head to Cavalese where the forecast calls for freezing temperatures and snow.
Last month the IOC conducted a similar visit to Sweden to evaluate the Stockholm-Åre 2026 Olympic bid. It found that the regional concept made good use of existing facilities and the public support nudged up to 55 percent – but admitted that “work needs to be done” to determine “roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders within the required timelines.”
The Swedish minister for sport assured that her government will announce its level of support for the bid by the April 12 IOC deadline, but the IOC has hinted that it is a loose date that could be extended until the final host city election.
Results of the visits will be published in an evaluation report to be released by the end of May before the IOC Session in Lausanne elects a winner on June 24.
GamesBids.com will be reporting from Italy from April 1 to April 7, bringing you on-site coverage of the important Evaluation Commission visit. Follow us on Twitter @GamesBids or on Facebook to keep up with this event.