As four domestic candidates campaign to be named Switzerland’s bid for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games, the Cantons of Valais and Vaud have officially thrown support behind the Western Switzerland project.
Ahead of a December 15 deadline for the submission of bid application files to national Olympic committee Swiss Olympic, the commitment from the State Councils of the two cantons will be considered a significant boost for the bid branded “The Swiss Made Games.”
Other domestic bids include “Olympic Winter Games 2026 Graubünden and partners,” “2026 – Games for our future” and “Switzerland 2026.”
Sion has been designated the host city of the Western Switzerland Games bid and is set to contribute CHF 1 million to an international campaign. Valais will contribute CHF 4 million to the campaign and Vaud will budget CHF 1 million to the project.
Vailais has budgeted the largest share of the CHF 8 million required by Swiss Olympic to finance the campaign because there are no laws that require a referendum at that investment level, while any payments in excess of CHF 1 million by the Vaud council would trigger a public vote.
Jean-Philippe Rochat, Chairman of the Nominating Committee said “Our priority is to get to 15 December with guaranteed funding and therefore not subject to referendum.”
“Between the cantons of Vaud and Valais and with input from the private sector, we are at [CHF] 6.5 million. For the million and a half remaining, we are currently in negotiations with Bern and Fribourg.”
The balance of the estimated CHF 24 million international campaign budget will be the responsibility of the Confederation, Swiss Olympic and the candidate region.
Sion previously bid for the Games in 1976, 2002 and 2006. Bern, Switzerland bid for the 2010 Games but withdrew before the vote after plans were overturned by a referendum.
Montreux had previously offered to be host city for “The Swiss Made Games” campaign but after consultation with Swiss Olympic, Sion was selected instead for strategic purposes. Montreux will remain part of the overall plans.
Rochat said “the institutional support we are looking for is essential and is truly launching our application at the national level.”
“We continue to work to rally other cantons of Western Switzerland such as Freiburg and Bern.”
Specific venue plans across the region will be released after the final applications are submitted to Swiss Olympic next month, then in March executives of the governing sport body will determine if any one of the bids will be nominated to compete on the international stage.
Before moving forward, the nomination will need to be ratified by the Swiss Parliament of Sport.
The four candidates have already participated in three project workshops as part of the domestic bid process.
Bid nominations will be due into the International Olympic Committee (IOC) early in 2018 and the IOC will elect a winner in 2019.