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Operator appointed for Milan Olympic venue

Italian venue operator Forumnet has been appointed to run the arena formerly known as Palasharp, which will serve as one of the host venues during Milan’s staging of the 2026 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Forumnet currently operates Milan’s Forum di Assago, which has a capacity of 12,700 and hosts music concerts, basketball games and other sports. The Forum will host speed skating and figure skating during the Olympics.

The contract to manage the former Palasharp arena will run for 31 years. The venue, which has a capacity of up to 10,000, will host ice hockey during the Games and will be officially known as the Milano Hockey Arena.

The arena will be one of two ice hockey venues during the Olympics alongside the planned 15,000-capacity Palaitalia Santa Giulia. The latter will be operated by CTS Eventim and is being designed by British architect Sir David Chipperfield and his firm. It is due to open in 2025 and will be Italy’s largest indoor venue.

According to the Milano Today news website, Forumnet has been selected ahead of Ticketone and Mca Events to operate the Milano Hockey Arena, which will have a capacity of 8,200 for sporting events once renovation work has been carried out. The redevelopment work is set to cost around €13.3m (£11.3m/$14.2m).

Forumnet’s offer reportedly included a €50,000 fee for the first five years of the contract and €400,000 for the following years.

Milan sports councillor Martina Riva said: “This is good news, for the city of Milan and for the Olympic winter Games that we will host. Now we are waiting for the technical time to pass for the final award and thus start the process that will lead to the redevelopment and transformation of the former Palasharp Milan Hockey Arena for Milan Cortina 2026.”

Milan will be co-hosting the 2026 Games with the Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort. In November, a new company was officially formed to deliver the infrastructure projects needed for the Games, with Italian officials admitting at the time that work needs to be advanced in order to make up for delays built up over recent years.

Milano Cortina 2026 highlighted the planned use of existing venues during its bid for the Games, which was selected ahead of a rival proposal from Stockholm-Åre during 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.