After a tumultuous weekend of intense negotiations to find a workable funding arrangement needed to support Calgary’s 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid, an unconfirmed local news report has indicated that the last-ditch effort has failed.
According to the Calgary Herald, city council’s Olympic assessment committee on Tuesday will be asked to withdraw from negotiations that have been ongoing with the province of Alberta and the government of Canada.
The city, according to the report, will be asked to cancel the scheduled November 13 plebiscite and end all work on the Olympic bid immediately.
The Olympic assessment committee had a meeting planned for Tuesday afternoon, but that has been rescheduled for the morning. The full city council must vote to end the bid at a Wednesday session before it can be finalized.
Other reports have surfaced, however, that negotiations remain ongoing.
CBC News said the Mayor’s office confirmed that the negotiation among the parties continues. A report of the negotiations is set to go to the Olympic assessment committee Tuesday.
A letter from Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaked to the press Saturday revealing a misunderstanding over the terms of the federal funding arrangement that promised CAD $1.75 billion dollars (adjusted to 2026), but only on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis with city and provincial contributions.
Nenshi maintained that an agreement made in March waived the dollar-matching formula.
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Federal Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan Monday defended Ottawa’s position, explaining that the formula is part of the government’s published position that was applied to both the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.
Alberta has promised a maximum amount of $700 million for the Games while the city, according to Nenshi’s letter, has been prepared to contribute $370 million. The Calgary 2026 budget of $5.2 billion requires at least $3 billion in taxpayer funds – and the current arrangement leaves the city well short of that goal.
Calgarians have been set to vote on the plan at a November 13 plebiscite.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.