Reporting From Livigno, Italy – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed Wednesday that Sweden’s Stockholm-Åre 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid has yet to communicate with them about government guarantees since wrapping up an Evaluation Commission site visit March 16.
Speaking from Livigno during a similar visit to Italy to inspect the Milano-Cortina 2026 bid, IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi, when asked if he’d heard news from Sweden said “Not yet, we haven’t got any contacts lately.”
“But this is something we’re working on with a deadline of (April)12th.”
He added that he hadn’t expected to hear from the bid.
In Sweden, Sport Minister Amanda Lind said March 15 that she would provide a final decision on whether the letter will be signed in time for the extended deadline, but gave no further details. Without the signed letter, the bid cannot continue.
When Dubi was asked Wednesday by GamesBids.com what the next steps would be if there was no word from Sweden by that date, he deflected the question, refusing to speculate.
But when he was asked the same question last month, Dubi was more forthcoming, explaining that the IOC is flexible and bids could have up until the host city election on June 24 to file all of the documents.
The apparent change in Dubi’s dialogue follows an announcement Monday by Italy’s Secretary of Sport Giancarlo Giorgetti that Italian Prime Minster Giuseppe Conte is prepared to sign the guarantee letter as early as Friday, and that he would commit up to 415 million euros (USD $466 million) to the project.
Speculation is that Conte could meet the IOC team Friday night at an official dinner scheduled in Milan at Villa Necchi, and the signed letter could be revealed at a press conference Saturday afternoon.
Should that occur, the Italian bid would become a strong favourite to win the 2026 race unless Sweden can produce the same letter and meet the deadline.
The April deadline was originally set for bids to guarantee venue availability and other technicalities, but when both bids missed the January 11 government guarantee deadline, the IOC extended the requirement to that second deadline date.
Bids require the national government to sign a form letter that indicates visa requirements and human rights will be protected, but also that essential services and security will be guaranteed.
There had been significant risk that both bids might fail to produce government guarantees, a risk that added to the IOC’s “flexibility.” IOC President Thomas Bach said last year that there was no plan B.
IOC officials in Italy seemed to be more relaxed, however, since Monday’s promise of government support.
In 2012 Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti refused the sign the guarantee letter for a Rome 2020 Summer Games bid, waiting until the final deadline day before announcing his decision. The bid was immediately cancelled.
GamesBids.com will be reporting from Italy this week until 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.