By Zjan Shirinian
Political chiefs in Lucerne are pinning their hopes on the financial backing of the Swiss Government to set the wheels in motion for a bid to stage the 2021 Winter Universiade.
The Cantonal Government of the Canton of Lucerne is behind the city in Central Switzerland hosting the Games.
But a bid is wholly dependent on the country's Government being able to pay towards the event.
A "yes" or "no" from the Government is expected by the end of the year, at which point the five districts within the Canton will also be required to offer their financial backing.
Speaking to insidethegames today, Erwin Roos, general secretary of the Health and Social Welfare Department of the Canton of Lucerne, said a campaign from the city would draw on many of the concepts from the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to bid for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
"We still have concepts and ideas [from the bid] so we're well prepared, we think."
The Swiss Olympic Committee ultimately chose Lausanne as its favoured city to enter the race for the Youth Olympic Games.
Roos said that while the central Government has not been asked for a specific amount of money, around CHF20 million (£13 million/$21 million/€16.5 million) would be needed in total from it and the districts.
Speaking of whether the public would be behind a bid, Roos said: "Probably our Canton, like many, is struggling a bit with public finance shortages for certain services, so there is caution.
"There could be a discussion about whether to spend the money [on the Games], but generally I think people would be interested."
He also said the appeal of the Winter Universiade in Asia - a key tourism market for Lucerne - was a draw for bidding.
Health and Social Services Minister Guido Graf said: "This event is very interesting in terms of both sports and value creation.
"The Cantons of Central Switzerland, Lucerne as a university town and tourism destination can only profit from the Winter Universiade.
"We expect the Confederation (Government) to issue a clear affirmation of the organisation of the 2021 Winter Universiade and the pledge of a substantial financial contribution.
"We will continue evaluations once the Confederation has pledged its support."
The driving force behind the idea for a bid is the Swiss University Sport Federation (SHSV).
SHSV director Leonz Eder said: "Central Switzerland submitted an excellent application document for the 2020 Youth Olympic Games.
"It is a perfect basis for the organisation of the 2021 Winter Universiade."
The majority of the sports facilities needed for the Winter Universiade exist in Central Switzerland, a region of the Alpine foothills.
Lucerne would be the Games' host if any bid was successful, with the various competitions run in Central Switzerland's winter sports resorts.
Last year's Winter Universiade was held in Trentino, Italy, with the 2015 edition to be co-hosted by Granada in Spain and Štrbské Pleso and Osrblie in Slovakia.
The 2017 Games is in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty, with Russian city Krasnoyarsk staging it in 2019.
No other bids or expressions of interest for the 2021 Games have been announced.
The bidding process was launched at the beginning of this month, with bidding forms and payment of the bidding fee needed by March 1 next year.
Submissions of the bid book, inspection visits and presentations by the bidders to the International University Sports Federation Executive Committee will all take place after September 30 next year.
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