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Winter Olympics Failed Sion 2026 Olympic bid cost CHF6.3 million, says report 

Children hold red and white Sion 2026 balloons

The organisers of the Sion 2026 bid wanted to bring the Olympic games to Switzerland for the first time since St Moritz in 1948.

(© Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott)

Switzerland’s failed Winter Olympics bid “Sion 2026” cost CHF6.3 million ($6.3 million), according to a Sunday newspaper. Federal and cantonal authorities and Swiss Olympic have reportedly split the bill.

On June 10, 2018, voters in canton Valais, including Sion which would have been the host city, rejected the plan which would have seen CHF100 million ($100 million) of their tax money pay for infrastructure and security. The local vote decision effectively killed the Swiss bid for the Games.

Sixteen months on, according to a report by Le Matin Dimanche, which has spoken to different sources including the Sion 2026 financial director Pierre-Alain Cardinaux, the failed bid cost CHF6.3 million.

The Federal Office for Sport and the Swiss Olympic refuse to divulge any figures until the end of 2019.

Costs split

But Cardinaux told the paper that the CHF6.3 million in costs was equally split between promotional activities, a feasibility study and general costs linked to IT, rent and salaries.

The bill has been divided in three between the federal authorities, Swiss Olympic and the local cantonal authorities. Valais has paid CHF1 million, while the city of Sion has given CHF300,000, the paper said. Cantons Vaud and Bern have each spent CHF260,000, double that of canton Fribourg which was also part of the initial regional proposal.

The newspaper drew a comparison with the failed Canadian bid for the 2026 Winter Games by Calgary, which cost 16.3 million Canadian dollars (CHF12.2 million).

Sion 2026 was the latest attempt to bring the Olympic games to Switzerland for the first time since St Moritz in 1948. If voters had approved the budget, the federal government said it would contribute almost CHF1 billion to help cover the costs. The total budget was estimated at CHF2.4 billion.

Opponents of the Sion 2026 bid argued the Games would go over budget. They said Valais would be better off investing in roads, hospitals and social services. Nor did they have much confidence in the International Olympic Committeeexternal link (IOC), despite its adoption of a Agenda 2020, a reform strategy to optimise budgets and to reduce the complexity of the Games.

Supporters of the bid said the Olympics would have given the region more visibility, develop tourism, and generate momentum.

In June 2019, the IOC picked the joint Italian bid Cortina d’Ampezzo-Milan as host for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Keystone-SDA/sb

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