Government and Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) officials are strategizing to form a common front in order to impress the visiting International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission members who will be inspecting the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Games candidacy next week.
The IOC team led by Octavian Morariu already visited Sweden earlier this month to evaluate Italy’s rival bid Stockholm-Åre. It will arrive in Venice April 1 and travel to Cortina d’Ampezzo and finally Milan before concluding with a press conference April 6.
At the sidelines of a National Council meeting in Rome Wednesday Italy’s Sports Secretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said “I think there is a right and positive climate… we hope to make a good impression with the IOC visiting next week.”
Giorgetti, referencing a study released by the government last week that suggested hosting an Olympic Winter Games in Italy would be economically sustainable, said “this plan was a precondition for the government to formalize what had already been said.”
He believes “that the government will therefore take on the indirect costs.
“And may also eventually finance useful works independent of the Games,” Giorgetti said “I am optimistic.”
Government officials have stopped short of signing the guarantees that the IOC needs, including security, visa support and essential services. Olympic backers are working hard to minimize the impact of this indecision.
Last year Giorgetti said the government would not support the Games with funding, but his stance has since softened.
Earlier this month Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella said the Games “…are of great importance, not only for the two leading cities but for the whole of Italy.”
According to Milano Today he added “I assure all the support and backing possible.”
But Giorgetti emphasized this week “We are in the finishing straight, in the final rush.”
“Less than three months are left before the allocation of the 2026 Winter Olympics, from now until that date we will try as much as possible to avoid any controversy and personal initiative.
“Then, from June 25 (the day after the host city election in Lausanne), we talk to each other and tell each other everything you want.”
CONI President Giovanni Malagò added “we try to keep this philosophy because it is a discourse that concerns the whole country and its infrastructure.
“The others do not sleep,” he said referring to Swedish bid rivals.
“Everything can end up at the tables of the IOC and can rightly be exploited by our competitors.
“We must work on the individual votes and I have been doing this for a long time. Then I already know how this story ends, if you win everyone is good, if you lose it’s someone’s fault.
“It takes a lot of patience but I’m optimistic.”
IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi has said that guarantees are due from the two bids on April 12, be he further clarified that the process of collecting and finalizing those guarantees can take more time, even up until the June 24 election during the IOC Session.
Stockholm-Åre 2026 also lacks firm guarantees, but Sweden’s sport minister has said that she will provide a final decision before the April deadline.
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.