IOC in “very good dialogue” with Switzerland for 2038 Winter Olympics bid; targeted dialogue could begin in 2025

Switzerland is in 'privileged dialogue' with the IOC and have been given an exclusive window until 2027 to secure hosting rights for the 2038 Games

IOC Future Host Commission Chair Karl Stoss speaks to media at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah April 10, 2024 (GamesBids Photo)
IOC Future Host Commission Chair Karl Stoss speaks to media at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah April 10, 2024 (GamesBids Photo)

Switzerland’s bid to host the 2038 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is edging closer and a decision could come quickly, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Wednesday during the Executive Board meeting in Lausanne.

At a press conference following day one of the three day quarterly meeting, Future Host Commission (FHC) chair Karl Stoss told reporters “we are in a very good dialogue with [Switzerland] and I think we will continue this dialogue very fast after Paris [2024 Olympic Games], maybe in 2025 we start a targeted dialogue also with Switzerland.”

On Wednesday the French Alps 2030 and Salt Lake City 2034 Winter Games bids, both in the IOC’s targeted dialogue, were cleared by the IOC Executives to move to a final election on July 24 in Paris where members are expected to ratify the decisions. The approval of France is subject to receiving a government delivery guarantee following French elections set to conclude July 7.

The Swiss bid had been in the running to host the 2030 edition before Stoss and his team instead chose the French application last November, and named it the preferred candidate – leaving Switzerland behind. Salt Lake City was elevated to preferred candidate at the same time pushing the next available Games to 2038.

Switzerland was then offered its own exclusivity, a spot in so-called privileged dialogue to host the 2038 edition. That gave bid officials until 2027 to meet conditions set forth by the IOC and become that preferred candidate.

The IOC said they will not consider any other bids for the 2038 Games unless Switzerland drops out of the process or the exclusive window expires.

Sweden had also been in the race for 2030, and Sapporo had pivoted from 2030 to 2034 after the Tokyo 2020 bid rigging scandal tainted its campaign.

Stoss said his Commission is open to dialogue with any other interested parties for the Games in 2042 or later, or to be on standby if the dialogue with Switzerland fails.

“For all the other upcoming Winter Olympic Games we are looking forward always for interesting candidates and as you know Japan is one of the most credible winter sports countries we know. And if Sapporo or another region in Japan raised their hand and says ‘we are ready’, we would like to open a dialogue with you.”

Noting that the Winter Games through to 2034 could move from Europe (Milan-Cortina) in 2026 and 2030 to the Americas (Salt Lake City) in 2034 and potentially back to Europe (Switzerland) in 2038, Stoss said it would be due back in Asia by 2042.

He said “we will start the dialogue as soon as possible also with a candidate with Asia.”

However, the IOC doesn’t follow any official continental rotation rule.

Switzerland has hosted the Winter Games twice, both editions in St. Moritz in 1928 and 1948. The latter were frugal post war Games awarded due to the availability of existing facilities after two straight canceled Winter Olympics.

Seven straight lost bids followed split among St. Moritz for 1960, Sion for 1976, 2002, 2006 and 2026, Berne in 2010 and the national bid for 2030.

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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