As Switzerland gears up to host a clutch of international sporting events, the government today asked parliament to sign off on a package of financial support.
The funding, to the total tune of CHF25.5 million ($26.5 million), is for three rendezvous: the 2020 Youth Winter Olympics, the 2020 Ice Hockey World Championships, and the 2021 Winter Universiade.
The organizational (or prestige) levels are hardly that of an event like the European football championships (co-hosted with Austria in 2008) or the Winter Olympics (Sion is bidding for the 2026 edition). But they are of global importance, government said Wednesday.
Not only this, but the nature of the Youth Olympics (to be held in Lausanne) and Winter Universiade (Lucerneexternal link) in particular are instruments to encourage youth participation in sport, it outlined in its message to parliament.
Indeed, the invention of the youth gamesexternal link in 1998 was largely in response to growing global concerns about childhood obesity and the falling participation of youth in sport activities, especially in developed nations.
Streams of funding
To contribute to the 2020 games in Lausanne, where 1100 athletes will compete, the government is proposing CHF14 million: 8 for the hosting itself, 6 for the renovation of the Malley sports complex.
The total cost will reach CHF36 million, with much of the rest to be financed at cantonal level.
For the 2021 Universiade – games combining “high-level competitive sport with educational aspects and cultural events”, open to 17-25-year-olds – the government is proposing CHF11 million to the areas around host-city Lucerne.
Finally, for the world ice hockey championships, to be co-hosted by Lausanne and Zurich, the amount of federal aid will be about CHF500,000. The championships, held every year, were previously organized in 2009 in Kloten and Bern.
The government also noted the added security measures to which it will contribute during the events, complementing local forces.
It is not impossible that the security situation could deteriorate to such an extent that the tournaments be cancelled, it warned, though such a residual risk is unlikely. It is nevertheless something of which the organizers should remain conscious, it said.
swissinfo with agencies/dos