Two candidature files have been submitted in the race to win the nomination for Switzerland's bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Graubünden und Partner 2026" (Eastern Switzerland) and "Sion 2026. The Games in The Heart of Switzerland" (Western Switzerland) have been put forward prior to a set deadline.
Five projects registered to participate in the process, with one dropping out of competition in July and three others merged resulting in two final candidates.
The Sion 2026 project is comprised of the original "Switzerland 2026, 2026 - Games for our future" and "Sion 2026 - The Games in The Heart of Switzerland" campaigns, and is supported by the cantons of Valais, Vaud, Fribourg and Bern.
A one-day working meeting with the taskforce set up to evaluate the projects is scheduled to take place between the end of January and the beginning of February 2017.
Following this meeting, an evaluation of the projects will be finalised and submitted by the taskforce to the Executive Council of Swiss Olympic, which is due to meet on March 7 to proceed with the final appointment of a project.
The decision will still have to be ratified by the Swiss Parliament of Sport, the supreme body of Swiss Olympic, at an extraordinary meeting scheduled for April 11.
"We are very pleased to see that our work with the candidate regions has borne fruit," said Swiss Olympic President Jörg Schild.
"We wanted a collaborative process, during which ideas would come together, for the sake of a common goal: to offer Switzerland the great project it needs.
"Today we have two extremely strong proposals, and we look forward to continuing to work together to further refine them, with the objective of nominating a strong, ambitious and realistic project, which will benefit the whole of Switzerland and the Olympic Movement."
The objective set by Swiss Olympic at the beginning of the national selection process was to establish whether there was an Olympic Games project in Switzerland that met two main criteria.
Firstly to have a real meaning for Switzerland at the sporting, societal, economic, tourist and environmental levels and secondly to have at the same time a realistic chance to win through a competitive, international bid.
The process set up by Swiss Olympic in March was therefore aimed at establishing a clear framework to help those regions with an interest in organising the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Switzerland develop projects that could meet these criteria.
A proposed Swiss bid for the 2026 Games were given a boost earlier this month after the country’s Federal Council agreed to back the attempt to bring the event to the nation.
The Federal Council said in a statement that they "welcomed" the work being done on a Swiss candidacy for the Games in 10 years’ time while confirming they would provide the required financial assistance.
They have also agreed to establish an interdepartmental working group, which will "support the primary responsibility of the Swiss candidature" in feasibility studies by "providing strategic advice and information".
The Federal Government warned, however, that a "sporting event of this magnitude cannot take place without substantial financial support from the Government".
St Moritz in Switzerland has hosted the Winter Olympic Games on two previous occasions, in 1928 and 1948.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) members are due decide who will host the 2026 Games in 2019.