Sion 2026 expect to discover next month whether they have political support to proceed with a bid ©Sion 2026

Sion 2026 expect to discover whether they have the political support of the Swiss Federal Government in mid-October to see whether they can continue with their proposed bid for the Winter Olympics.

Members of the Bid Committee and Swiss Olympic submitted a feasibility document to the Federal Government.

The document was split into three sections – technical, budget and an interim report.

The technical part of the dossier looked at the design concepts for the Games along with potential venues, accommodation arrangements and strategies for transport and security.

Sion 2026 expect a feasibility report to be published by the Government in the next 10 days, while negotiations are ongoing between the cantons involved in the project.

Officials from Sion 2026 and Swiss Olympic were present at the IOC Session in Lima here, as they wait to hear whether their proposed bid will be supported.

“There are negotiations between the city of Sion, all the five cantons which are involved in the project about the financing of the Games,” said Jean-Philippe Rochat, Sion 2026 President.

“An agreement should be made by the end of this month, with a decision taken by the Federal Council mid-October.

“They will decide about political support and financing - we anticipate around CHF1 billion (£770 million/$1.04 billion/€870 million) billion Swiss francs in federal contribution.

“Either there is no support and the bid is over or we move into a new phase of public communication and start of another political phase and hear the decision of the Swiss Parliament.”

Sion 2026 would expect to face a rederendum in the Canton of Valais should the bid proceed ©Sion 2026
Sion 2026 would expect to face a rederendum in the Canton of Valais should the bid proceed ©Sion 2026

In the budget section of their feasibility document, it is stated that organisational expenses are currently forecasted at CHF1.86 billion (£1.47 billion/$1.91 billion/€1.62 billion).

It also predicts that an income of CHF1.35 billion (£1.06 billion/$1.39 billion/€1.18 billion) would be produced from the International Olympic Committee’s contribution, ticket sales and sponsorship.

The interim report concentrates on the legacy staging the 2026 Games would leave in a number of areas in Swiss life.

Rochat claimed the proposed bid differs from previous Swiss attempts to host the Games, with the bid based on existing venues.

Swiss Olympic chief executive Roger Schnegg added that without the Agenda 2020 reforms, which placed a focus on existing venues, the country would have been unlikely to have considered a bid.

“We believe our bid is different,” said Rochat.

“We have five cantons which allows us to share the risk.

“Our bid is based on existing infrastructure, which was not the case of the 2022 bid.

“It is not a one site Games, we have multiple sites.

“The bid we are proposing is much less expensive than the previous one and we hope we can convince the population.”

Under the proposed Sion 2026 bid, only two new venues are expected to be required to stage the Games, although existing sites could be adapted.

The first would be development of a large hill ski jumping venue at Kandersteg, which would join the existing smaller hill.

Currently the plan would see the large hill be a temporary one, with doubts existing over the long-term legacy if officials made it a permanent facility.

Switzerland has not hosted the Winter Olympics since 1948 ©Getty Images
Switzerland has not hosted the Winter Olympics since 1948 ©Getty Images

A speed skating venue is also being sought, with Sion 2026 considering three potential options.

The first would be a temporary facility in Aigle, while the second option could see an outdoor venue used, subject to approval of the International Skating Union.

Should both ideas prove unachievable, Sion 2026 would look to host the competition outside of the country, with Germany cited as a possible destination.

Sion’s bid was unanimously rubber-stamped in April by the Parliament of Sport, the highest authority for sport in Switzerland.

It means that Sion, the capital of the canton of Valais, will bid for the Winter Olympics for a fourth time.

The city in the south-west of the country was first nominated as a candidate for the Games on March 7 by Swiss Olympic.

It followed the collapse of another potential bid from the canton of Graubünden, following a referendum defeat.

It is likely a referendum would be held in the Canton of Valais - of which Sion is the capital - should the bid go ahead.

The city was considered the favourite in the 2006 Winter Olympic race, but was beaten 53 votes to 36 by Turin at the 108th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Seoul in 1999.

The vote coincided with the Salt Lake City 2002 bribery scandal, which had been sparked by Swiss IOC member Marc Hodler.

He accused the United States city of using bribery to win its bid, where the defeated cities included Sion.

The scandal led to the expulsion of six IOC members.