The Cortina Foundation is set to assist with preparations for Milan Cortina 2026 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Belluno and Veneto ©Milan Cortina 2026

The Milan Cortina 2026 Organising Committee has entered a collaboration agreement with the Cortina Foundation, which will provide technical and operational support in the build-up to the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The Cortina Foundation was formed in May last year by political leaders from Cortina d'Ampezzo, Belluno and Veneto, to oversee projects related to Milan Cortina 2026.

It has been billed as a "real local Organising Committee" and is set to support Milan Cortina 2026 in the organisation of annual meetings with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Federations, as well as the operational planning of events at the Games.

Milan Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò, who also heads up the Italian National Olympic Committee and is an IOC member, underlined the importance of the partnership with the Cortina Foundation.

"Cortina d'Ampezzo boasts a tradition of the highest order in hosting international events at the highest level," Malagò said.

"An experience that from the 1956 Olympics branches out until today.

"I am convinced that these skills, combined with the passion and skills that the friends of the Cortina Foundation have shown to have, will be the key to organising highly successful Olympic and Paralympic Games and to leaving a legacy made up of increasingly specialised skills for the whole territory."

Milan Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò said the Cortina Foundation's support
Milan Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò said the Cortina Foundation's support "will be the key to organising highly successful Olympic and Paralympic Games" ©Getty Images

Cortina Foundation President Stefano Longo, who was on the Organising Committee for the Cortina 2021 Alpine World Ski Championships, also welcomed the agreement with Milan Cortina 2026.

"Today's signing marks a very important moment for Cortina d'Ampezzo along the path that will lead us to host some of the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic events - a mix of local expertise and international vision that can make the difference." Longo said.

"In fact, the Cortina Foundation will make available all its experience in organising international events and all the sporting tradition inherent in the DNA of the area."

Cortina d'Ampezzo Mayor Gianluca Lorenzi said it was the first local authority to enter a collaboration agreement with Milan Cortina 2026, and it would serve as "the basis of all the collaboration spread across the territories".

Milan Cortina 2026 has been branded as the most widespread Winter Olympics and Paralympics of all time, covering an area of 22,000 square kilometres.

The Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from February 6 to 22, 2026, followed by the Paralympics from March 6 to 15.

The IOC Coordination Commission said it had observed "positive progress" following its first in-person visit in December last year, although it identified growing the domestic partner programme as a key priority.

It was revealed last week that the budget for the Games would remain at around €1.5 billion (£1.3 billion/$1.6 billion) despite economic difficulties and inflation in Italy.