Reporting From Stockholm, Sweden – Sweden’s Minister of Culture and Sport Amanda Lind promised to provide a final decision on possible government support for the Stockholm-Are 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games ahead of an April 12 International Olympic Committee (IOC) deadline.
Speaking to international reporters during a break from Evaluation Commission presentations being held at Stockholm Epicenter, Lind was firm in her comments that a decision, one that will determine if Sweden’s seventh Winter Olympic bid will survive until the host city election, will be made in time.
“We are processing our decision right now,” she explained, shedding some light on a process that has been unclear since Sweden missed the original January 11 deadline.
“Questions regarding security issues, that’s what we are investigating now and evaluating the material.
“[IOC guarantees] are a part of the decision we have to make and we are right now processing to be able to make a decision within the next weeks.”
The Minister wouldn’t indicate a more precise timetable, or whether the government was leaning one way or another.
After touring proposed venues in Åre, Falun and Stockholm this week, the IOC Evaluation Commission with its Chair Octavian Morariu will spend Friday in meetings to discuss plans and the contents of a bid book submitted in January.
In a rare show of transparency from the IOC, local and international media were invited to attend for more than two hours at the opening of the meeting, before conducting further discussions behind closed doors.
Lind, in her formal remarks explained “there must be a broad consensus of support” before the Swedish government can give full backing to the project.
Close national elections in Sweden last year were inconclusive, and Parliament remained hung until this past January after a complex coalition was formed. Support for the bid is mixed among coalition members and the decision to move forward with the Games could be contentious.
Lind said, however, “if Sweden would be honored to organize the Games it would be a great success.”
Sweden’s only rival, a joint bid between Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, is also working to solidify the required government support.
On Tuesday 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 declared “I assure all the support and backing possible.”
Last year Italy’s government sports minister said that no public money would be provided for the bid.
IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi said Thursday in Falun that even if the bids miss the April 12 guarantee deadline, the IOC could still accept documents up until the June 24 election in Lausanne, Switzerland.
GamesBids.com will be reporting from Sweden this week, 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.