Italy’s undersecretary responsible for sport, Giancarlo Giorgetti, said Thursday that his government will not provide financial backing for any proposed 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid. The government agrees, however, to support an Olympic bid presented by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) if other means of funding the project are found.
“We welcome the realization of the Olympic Games 2026,” Giorgetti said according to Italian media, “but at this point, given that the candidacies are divisive, there has not been an Italian candidature but a plurality, each will have to demonstrate that they are able to cope independently.”
Giorgetti made the remarks during his speech to the Culture Commission of the Chamber Thursday.
“The government has examined the Olympic Games dossier, trying to create the necessary enthusiasm for such an important and fascinating project, trying not to divide the country by promoting a shared candidacy,” he added.
“For widely known reasons it was not possible. At this moment, we have not actually made a joint proposal, as I have only heard the intentions so far.”
“I heard intentions and suggestions. The government’s attitude to this type of proposal, as I have reiterated to all stakeholders and to CONI (Italian Olympic Committee), is that these proposals will have the support of the government but not the economic support of the government, and they will have to demonstrate in some way that they meet all the needs of an organizational and infrastructural nature which, having read the dossier, seem to me very limited and also with a legacy, a subsequent reuse, very important.”
Last week CONI presented a joint Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) only a day after a proposed three-way bid also involving Turin disintegrated when Mayors couldn’t reach an agreement.
Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala wanted his city to lead the project, but Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino refused to play a supporting role. The Italian government had endorsed a nationally led bid with the three cities as equal partners.
Rather than waste efforts already put into the project, governors for the two regions supporting Milan and Cortina pushed for their new two-city concept.
Meanwhile Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino has not given up, insisting that her city that hosted the 2006 Games could also stage the 2026 Games on its own. She said Thursday that if the national government plans to financially back the project that Turin is already prepared and should be given consideration.
The IOC will announce a shortlist of candidates in Buenos Aires on October 8 from among rivals Calgary in Canada, Erzurum in Turkey and Stockholm in Sweden. Those cites will have until January to submit completed bid books and government guarantees before the host city is elected September 2019.
CONI and the potential Italian candidate have fallen behind in the process, and much work will need to be done quickly in order to hit these milestones.