CONI commits to three-city 2026 Olympics bid despite Milan discontent
CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, today took the unprecedented step of putting forward a three-way candidacy to host the 2026 winter Olympic Games, but its plans could be jeopardised by unrest in Milan.
CONI said that Milan, Turin and Cortina d'Ampezzo will form the joint bid, and that no one city will lead the project.
Giovanni Malagò (pictured), president of CONI, said: "It is an absolute novelty in the history of the candidature process and we have obtained from the International Olympic Committee this possibility of a regional bid."
However, Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala wrote in a letter to Malagò that the decision to pursue a three-way bid was "political" and did not make "sporting" sense, according to ANSA, the Italian news agency.
Sala said: “Given the current conditions, [Milan] does not consider its participation in the governance of 2026 feasible.”
Malagò dismissed Sala’s concerns, noting: “Governance will have to be implemented and defined when what is today a candidature will become an Olympics. At the moment we are only candidates, we did not win the Olympics, we have signed up for the race.”
The use of three cities will limit the need for venue construction, an element the IOC has cited in approving the introduction of combined bids in its Agenda 2020 reform programme.
According to the Master Plan (below), Milan would host many of the ice events including curling, ice hockey, figure skating and short track, while sliding and alpine events would be staged in Cortina, with Nordic Combined and ski jumping in nearby Val di Fiemme. Ice hockey and speed skating would take place in Turin.
Each city cluster would have its own media and broadcast centres and Athletes’ Village.
Last month, CONI committed to proceeding with a bid to stage the winter Olympic Games in 2026, but delayed a decision over which of the three potential cities would lead the campaign.
CONI established an evaluation committee, comprising five past and present Italian IOC members, to assess the credentials of the trio.
Turin hosted the winter Olympics in 2006 and Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956, while Milan has never hosted an Olympics.
The Italian government has already given its support to a proposed Italian bid for the 2026 games so long as there are "low-cost solutions, which start with realistic approaches."
Rome withdrew from the races to host both the 2020 and 2024 summer Olympics over cost concerns.
The Italian trio are competing against Calgary (Canada), Sapporo (Japan), Stockholm (Sweden) and Erzurum (Turkey) for the right to stage the 2026 winter Olympics. Graz (Austria) and Sion (Switzerland) have dropped out of the race.
The 2026 host will be announced in September 2019.