Milan has never hosted the Summer or Winter Olympic Games ©Wikipedia

A joint Milan-Turin bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games has been formally proposed by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) today.

CONI said that they had "informed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of its desire to proceed with the dialogue phase for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games".

They claim that they have only submitted interest now to meet the IOC deadline of Saturday (March 31) and that their attempt is still dependent on support from the yet-to-be-formed Italian Government.

But today's statement has seemingly ended the prospect of a bid from Cortina d'Ampezzo.

A CONI spokesperson told insidethegames that, despite public support from Veneto Governor Luca Zaia, they have had no official expression of interest from the region.

They now consider it too late for such an expression to be made.

The Milan-Turin bid has flexibility as it could be a completely joint bid or one led by Milan.

CONI officials have made clear, though, that they favour the latter scenario and they believe that the IOC do as well because Turin hosted the Games as recently as 2006.

They claim that Turin would be prepared to be involved in a joint-bid despite public references towards a solo attempt.

It remains to be seen if this will prove to be the case, however.

Turin also hosted the 2006 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games ©Getty Images
Turin also hosted the 2006 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games ©Getty Images

"This letter [sent to the IOC] also explicitly stated that CONI is awaiting the formation of the new Government to which, adhering to the times and methods agreed, it shall present a feasibility study, already completed at the beginning of 2018, for a comprehensive evaluation of the entire project, which could benefit the whole of Italy, even in the light of the cost reductions in the 2020 Agenda," said the national body.

"CONI notes that the dialogue phase involves collaboration between CONI, the City and the IOC in order to identify the best solution for the needs of the country, therefore considering the possibility, as part of a joint project, of expanding potential solutions for the different Olympic competitions to other areas.

"Following the dialogue phase, in view of its technical expertise and in compliance with the Olympic Charter, it will be the IOC alone to make the decision regarding which City will be invited to be the official candidate for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games."

Milan has never hosted a Summer or Winter Olympic Games.

Calgary in Canada, Erzurum in Turkey, Graz and Schladming in Austria, Sapporo in Japan, Sion in Switzerland and Stockholm in Sweden are other interested cities.

Those who submit have the next six months to provide more details of their bids before the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in October is due to propose official candidates.

A choice will then be made at an IOC Session next year.