Soon-To-Be-Named Italian 2026 Olympic Bid Wins National Government Approval

An Italian Olympic Winter Games bid set to be named Tuesday has already received approval from the nation’s government.

CONI President Giovanni Malagò (Rome 2024)
CONI President Giovanni Malagò (Rome 2024)

Italy’s government revealed its position in a statement Friday declaring “The Council of Ministers, having acknowledged the will expressed by the Municipalities of Cortina, Milan and Turin to apply for the 2026 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games, expressed its willingness to guarantee the Government’s support for the Italian candidature.”

In the same press release, however, politicians encouraged bid organizers to find solutions to minimize costs and establish plans for sustainability and valuable legacies.

Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malagò responded Saturday on the organization’s website “I fully agree with the statement by Undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti on the candidature for the Winter Olympic Games 2026. It will now be up to CONI to prepare all the assessments on the basis of what the Government today expressed. we will have the clearest ideas on the path to follow.”

The cities submitted individual proposals but it’s possible that CONI will encourage the selected lead city to share venues with the other municipalities across a broader footprint, and to deliver within the government mandate.

Turin hosted the Games in 2006 and Cortina d’Ampezzo was the site in 1956 – and both offer existing winter sports venues.  Milan has never hosted an Olympic Games, but has other valuable venues and infrastructure.

CONI will meet Tuesday to examine feasibility studies submitted by the three prospects last week, and are expected to name the lead bid city the same day.  Approvals for the chosen city will still be required at the state and municipal levels.

Two previous bids by Capital Rome for the Summer Games were both rejected by politicians and forced to withdraw from the race.  Despite Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s backing for a 2024 bid, newly elected Mayor Virginia Raggi pulled the plug after opposing the costs of an Olympics as part of her election platform.

Milan has been selected to host IOC Session in 2019 where the 2026 host city is elected, but if Italy’s bid is accepted into the race by the IOC – the venue will need to be moved outside of the country.

Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti refused to provide national support for Rome’s 2020 bid campaign, leaving the city out of the race.

An Italian bid will receive a lot of attention from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as potential European host cities become scarce.  Last month Sion in Switzerland dropped from the 2026 race when it was defeated in a referendum and Friday Graz in Austria canceled plans when it couldn’t reach a government consensus on the project.

Including the Italian nomination, five cities remain interested and are eligible to be added to an IOC shortlist in October.

Calgary in Canada will face a November plebiscite while Stockholm in Sweden continues to lobby for elusive government support.  Sapporo could switch its target to 2030 leaving Erzurum in Turkey as the only city with a clear path to the September 2019 host city election.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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