A new company has been officially formed to deliver the infrastructure projects needed for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, with Italian officials admitting that work needs to be advanced in order to make up for delays built up over recent years.
Milano Cortina 2026, which highlighted the planned use of existing venues for the Games, overcame rival Stockholm-Åre by 47 votes to 34 at the IOC Session held in June 2019. Of the 14 competition venues spread across the four clusters in Milan, Cortina, Valtellina and Val di Fiemme, only one will be a permanent new arena.
The new company, Infrastrutture Milano Cortina 2020-2026, was launched at the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility. Enrico Giovannini, the Minister of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, said: “It is an important day. The birth of the company will allow the passing to the operational phase of the realisation of the works.
“But to make up for the delay accumulated in recent years we will have to speed up numerous steps and a strong team spirit will have to prevail. The appointment of a commissioner will speed up the planning and construction process of the works financed up to now, but we have included additional resources in the budget bill to allow Italy to fully respect the commitments it has made towards the International Olympic Committee.”
With regards financing, the budget bill for 2022 assigns an additional €324m (£271.9m/$363.2m) for the years 2022-2025 for the completion of already planned works and for other infrastructural interventions that may become necessary.
In November 2020, the Italian Government unveiled an investment package of €1bn for infrastructure development designed to improve access to venues for the Games. The funding will be used for road and railway projects in the Lombardy and Veneto regions that will host the Games, along with the autonomous provinces of Bolzano and Trento.
Under the decree, Lombardy will receive €473m, while €325m will go to Veneto, €120m for Trento and €82m for Bolzano. All projects must be finished before the Games commence in February 2026.
The budget law for 2021 had provided €145m as a state contribution for sports facilities. With regards the construction of particularly complex works, some of these projects have been assigned to extraordinary commissioners appointed with the Prime Minister’s Decree of August 5 and are already in the construction phase or at the final planning stage.
Deputy Minister of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, Alessandro Morelli, said: “The constitution of the company, charged with carrying out more than half of the infrastructural interventions connected to the Winter Games, finally marks the entry into the operational phase of the Olympic project.
“A Games that, as a whole, is worth more than €10bn and will have significant repercussions on employment and GDP. Without considering that the Olympics alone will be able to generate around 20,000 jobs and almost €2bn in turnover.”
Giuseppe Sala, the Mayor of Milan, last month maintained that the opening ceremony of the 2026 Games will be held at the San Siro, with any demolition of the stadium set to take place after the conclusion of the Games as both AC Milan and Inter Milan progress with their plans to develop a new stadium.
In August, CTS Eventim took over the development of the MSG Arena in Milan, which is to host events at the Olympics. The ticketing and live entertainment provider will lead the planning and construction of the 16,000-capacity multipurpose arena, which will become Italy’s largest indoor venue when it opens in autumn 2025.
Oak View Group announced the venue as its first European project through a partnership with Live Nation at around the time Milan won the 2026 Olympic bid in 2019, but rights have now switched to CTS Eventim.
The arena will initially be made available to the IOC for the Winter Games at the beginning of 2026 and is set to host ice hockey events.
Commenting on the formation of Infrastrutture Milano Cortina 2020-2026, Undersecretary to the Prime Minister with responsibility for Sport, Valentina Vezzali, said: “Since the beginning of my mandate I have worked to make this structure operational and make up for lost time.
“I am confident because I know the qualities of those who will be at the top of this company, but above all because we have registered great harmony between all the protagonists. This ‘team spirit’, which made the Italian candidacy successful in the eyes of the IOC, will allow our country to be ready for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic events.”