International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said he is satisfied with the funding guarantees being proposed by the two 2026 Olympic Winter Games candidates.
Following a meeting of the IOC’s Executive Board in Tokyo Saturday, Bach said bids from Stockholm in Sweden and jointly between Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy offer guarantees that fit the reformed host city contract now offered by the IOC.
“We have to see with the candidatures, the budgets and also the requirements for investment and there we expect a very low level of investment because both bids will have 80 percent of existing and temporary facilities,” Bach said.
According to the IOC, only 60 percent of venues proposed for the 2018 and 2022 Winter Games were existing or temporary.
“In the case of Sweden there is already the indication that the budget will be privately financed and the necessary guarantees will be there for the delivery.
“For Milan and Cortina the declarations of the two provinces are there to guarantee the delivery. This guarantee cannnot be compared any more to the guarantee that the IOC has been requesting before.
“Before it was a deficit guarantee.
“This is not the case anymore.
“Before Olympic Agenda 2020 the IOC could take unilateral decisions [to change or add venues] even after the Games were allocated to a host city or NOC (National Olympic Committee).
“These times are over.
“The host city contract now says very clear that any kind of measures which can have a financial impact on the organizing committee can only be taken in agreement with the organizing committee.
“The guarantee has changed from being a deficit guarantee to a delivery guarantee.
“This is very different.”
The IOC noted that there is a 75 percent decrease in the proposed budgets by the two candidates compared with past bids for 2018 and 2022.
Despite the loss of five of seven candidates that applied to host the Games in April this year, Bach seemed pleased with the progress.
He said “the goal is to get back to the roots of two traditional winter sports countries who in the last years have organized several World Cups.”
PyeongChang in South Korea hosted the Games in February and Beijing is set to stage the event in 2022.
Last month Calgary in Canada dropped from the 2026 race when voters rejected the bid in a plebiscite. Earlier bids from Graz, Sion and Sapporo abandoned their campaigns, and Erzurum in Turkey was dismissed by the IOC for being too costly.
The Italian government said it will not fund the Milan and Cortina candidacy and there is no government in Sweden willing to support Stockholm’s bid. Even if privately funded, the projects will need the relevant authorities to guarantee costly essential services, including security.
Guarantees are due January 11, but the IOC has hinted that they will allow the bids more time to collect signatures if necessary.
The host city will be elected in June at an IOC Session to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland.