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Calgary backtracks on Olympic bid report

The City of Calgary has moved to clarify the funding situation surrounding its proposed bid for the 2026 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games after a report stating that the project had received federal and state financial backing was wrongly posted on its website.

A post on the Canadian city’s website on Friday stated that the Canadian government had pledged C$10.5m (€6.5m/$8m) to the bid, with the state of Alberta having promised a contribution of C$10m.

However, in a statement issued on Saturday, the city said the report had been issued in error and that no such promises have been made yet. The city said it remains in close contact with federal and provincial governments with regards to funding, which will amount to C$30m.

The statement said: “While the City has received very positive indications from both the governments of Canada and Alberta, no formal or final funding confirmation has been received.

“Conversations are continuing with other orders of government and Administration has been working to ensure we provide Council and the public with the latest information available. The version of the report that was posted online was a version that had been prepared in the hope of receiving formal funding approval ahead of next week's Strategic Meeting of Council. It was mistakenly posted.

“There was no intent to mislead the public or City Council. Administration apologises for this error. The correct version of the report will be shared with Council and then released to the public once available.”

The Calgary Sun newspaper said that the now-deleted report also recommended that the City of Calgary provide an extra C$2.5m in funding for the bid, bringing its total contribution up to C$9.5m.

The leaked report has angered some city councillors, who believe they are being pressured into supporting the bid. Councillor Jeromy Farkas told the Sun that the “the fix is in” when it comes to Calgary’s potential bid, adding that he feels the city is being swayed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“It seems like we’re getting railroaded down this path,” Farkas said. “We see the IOC meddling with council and giving the city administration tips with how to handle local media.”

The City Council is expected to meet to discuss the prospect of an Olympic bid on Wednesday. Calgary hosted the winter Olympics in 1988 and the IOC has set a deadline of March 31 for cities to enter the initial stage of the bid process.