Stockholm city government deal threatens 2026 Olympics bid
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 13, 2018 08:32 AM
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach gives a press conference at the end of the 133rd IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Stockholm's bid to host the 2026 Olympics is at risk only three days after the IOC formally approved the city among three candidates.
A new coalition deal announced Friday to run Stockholm's city government, between a center-right alliance and environmentalists, requires no taxpayer funding for a Winter Games.
"The starting point for all our parties has been to ensure that a Winter Olympics should not be on the taxpayers to pay for it," coalition member Karin Ernlund said.
The International Olympic Committee said Friday it had "not yet had any official confirmation of the decision."
Stockholm's bid team said it will open a "dialogue" with the new coalition to share its plans for hosting the Olympics.
"The campaign continues as before," the bid team said in a statement released late Friday.
"Our bid is strong, our budget is strong, and it is 100 percent privately financed — no taxpayer funds," it added. "We believe this approach is tailor-made for the IOC's new reality going forward. Stockholm 2026 will set new standards in every aspect of sustainability, not only for our Games, but for Winter Games thereafter."
If Stockholm drops out, the IOC will be left with Calgary, Canada, and the combined Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
A vote of IOC members is scheduled in June, the Olympic body said Tuesday when formalizing the 2026 contest, though there is uncertainty for the entire field.
Calgary's bid faces a Nov. 13 referendum, and full government support is also not guaranteed in Italy.
Amid widespread public concern at Olympic hosting costs, IOC vice president Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. said this week: "We have to make a huge effort in explaining ourselves better."
Stockholm could return for a bid for 2030 or beyond, city lawmakers said.
"It is missing a clear basis for a Winter Olympics right now," said Anna Konig Jerlmyr of Sweden's Moderate party, "but everyone wants to have it in the future so the question is when."