THE BIG PICTURE: Italian government to agree to modest support program for Milan-Cortina 2026

The key, distinguishing feature of the bid process for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games is the lack of national funding guarantees for either of the candidates: Stockholm-Are in Sweden or Milan-Cortina in Italy.

Without any other choices, the International Olympic Committee is moving ahead with the procedure, to select one of the two as host, at the IOC Session in Lausanne (SUI) in June. Its Evaluation Commission toured the Swedish sites last month and is in Italy now.

Even without a deficit guarantee, or infrastructure promises, from either national government, there are commitments which only the national government can make, especially for security and visa control.

While no specific guarantees were made in Sweden, the excellent site reported on Monday that the Italian government will agree to such support in a letter due to be issued as soon as this week.

According to the report, “Italian under-secretary of Sport Giancarlo Giorgetti made the announcement of the government’s commitment to the bid at a press conference at the Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia.

“We will be ‘signing the agreement on responsibilities and guarantees with an official letter that President [Giuseppe] Conte will sign in the next few days, I hope by Friday.’”

The security cost is estimated – at seven years out – at €415 (~$466 million U.S.) and there will be other costs for visa controls and coordination with the organizing committee and the regional governments which have taken on most of the responsibility in lieu of national support.

Giorgetti also indicated that some infrastructure support, such as for roads, might be available if the project made sense for long-term usage.

Sweden can still provide such guarantees for its bid and the (loose) deadline is 12 April.

It’s also worth noting, in the context of government guarantees, the public-support polling results by the IOC as shown in its Working Group Report from last September:

● 81-06% in favor (12% neutral) across Italy
● 71-10% in favor (19% neutral) across Lombardy (Milan)
● 82-04% in favor (14% neutral) across Veneto (Cortina d’Ampezzo)

● 46-24% in favor (30% neutral) across Sweden
● 42-31% in favor (27% neutral) across Stockholm County

That’s a very sharp difference and much in the favor of the Italian bid. The IOC’s Evaluation Commission will continue its tour of Italy through the seventh.