Stahl replaces Rochat as head of Sion 2026 Olympics bid
Jurg Stahl, the president of Swiss Olympic, is to assume leadership of Sion’s bid to stage the 2026 winter Olympic Games.
Stahl, who had been vice-president of the bid in its early stages, will chair the official bid committee, succeeding Jean-Philippe Rochat, who was recently named in the Panama Papers leak.
Rochat said his primary objective had always been to “help convince the Federal Council to support the candidacy," and that now that had been achieved (in mid-October) his “duty was done.”
He admitted that “discussions around my person might weaken a project I want to succeed.”
Sion 2026 said the appointment of Stahl is the beginning of a process to make the bid more national.
Stahl said: "I am delighted to be able to devote myself fully to this extraordinary project. This is a very important commitment for Switzerland. I warmly thank Jean-Philippe Rochat for the decisive quality of his contribution and the remarkable work he has done so far."
He added: "It is essential that in this phase of public discussion and advocacy, we demonstrate that modern and sustainable games will create value for the chosen sites and for the whole of Switzerland. We will highlight what can benefit everyone. "
In October, Sion 2026 dismissed Swiss reports that its budget for hosting the games had risen from SFr1.98 billion ($2 billion) to SFr2.4 billion, blaming a conflation of the proposed organising budget with costings for infrastructure and security work.
The bid told Sportcal that the organising budget remains at SFr1.98 billion, while those for infrastructure and security are SFr100 million and SFr303 million, respectively. In total, therefore, the bid expects that SFr2.4 billion would be spent on hosting the games, if Sion's bid is successful, albeit it pointed out that it is not yet clear what proportion of the SFr303-million budget will be attributable to the games.
Of the organising budget, SFr25 million is being set aside to fund bidding to host the games.
The bid received a boost in October when the Swiss government pledged to foot the bill for almost SFr1 billion of the costs. Of that figure, SFr8 million would go on the bid process itself, which will culminate with the host city vote in Milan in September 2019.
Should Sion's bid be successful, SFr827 million of federal funds would then go to help the organisation of the games themselves.
Other possible bidders include Norway, Calgary in Canada, Stockholm in Sweden, Sapporo in Japan and cities in USA, Turkey and Kazakhstan.