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Italian Winter Olympic bid granted government approval

The Italian government has granted approval to a joint bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo for the 2026 edition of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Italian news agency Ansa reported that the government approved the project yesterday (Thursday) following a cabinet meeting in Rome.

Guarantees and project plans for the 2026 Games are due to be delivered to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland today. The IOC is set to elect a host for the event in June.

Specifics of the government’s approval remain unclear, with funding for the project not mentioned.

In November, IOC president Thomas Bach said the bid can proceed without financial backing from the Italian government. It came after Italy’s deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio said that while the government would offer its support for the bid to the IOC, it would not “provide one euro – neither for direct or indirect costs”.

Later in November, the Calgary city council unanimously agreed to end the Canadian city’s bid, leaving only the joint Italian bid and a proposal from the Swedish capital of Stockholm in the running.

Uncertainty has also surrounded Stockholm’s bid after the city council’s new ruling coalition – comprising a centre-right alliance and environmentalists – agreed on a policy of opposing the Games.

The Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) has maintained Stockholm’s bid for the Games is in a “very good” position. This week, three county governors in Sweden backed plans for the 2026 Games to be staged in their respective regions.

The Associated Press news agency reported that Ylva Thorn, Jotan Hagglund and Sven-Erik Osterberg – the respective heads of Dalarna, Jamtland and Stockholm – are “very proud of the bid”.

The governors added that the concept of the Games would be to “include already existing arenas and use already planned investments as a go-ahead for the Games”.