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In a referendum in the Swiss Valais canton people voted 54% against. It's another sharp blow for the IOC that is now assessing the future. UPDATED

It was always going to be close with predictions that the people would throw out plans for an Olympic bid from the Swiss city.

They duly did on a 62.5% turnout. 

People at the highest level within the Olympic Movement are now taking stock and looking at a way forward after this latest setback.

"You would think Switzerland would be an ideal destination for the Games and it is disappointing," IOC member and World Anti-Doping Agency President Sir Craig Reedie told insidethegames.

"The IOC must now make sure that all of the candidates have all the information they need going forward.

"It is also important to remind cities of how bidding for and hosting the Winter Olympics has the potential for great benefits and how it is an exciting opportunity for the city, the country and for sport in that nation."


It raises the question about the future of the Winter Olympics in Europe and we look at the issue here in this related story:

Winter OlympicsWinter Olympics


The Sion 2026 Executive Committee said it will now dissolve and the President of the City of Sion, Philippe Varone, said the defeat was the end of the project and there was no plan B.

The International Olympic Committee blamed the loss on "outdated information on the cost of the Games".

The IOC said in a statement that this was the "main concern for those voting against the funding".  

It claimed the "recent fundamental reforms undertaken by the IOC have unfortunately not been taken into consideration". 

Residents in the city of Sion itself voted against with a 61% majority.

Voters in the ski resorts of Zermatt and Nendaz voted against, but those in Crans-Montana and Saas-Fee voted in favour of the Games going ahead.

An opinion poll by the Swiss television service, RTS, last week predicted 58% would vote against a bid. 

Opponents believe the money would be better spent on public services such as hospitals, schools and transport.  

Supporters believed it would benefit the canton and the country and that recent reforms to the Olympics mean it would be financially sound.

"Unfortunately we did not accomplish to convince the voters in the canton of Valais of the sustainability and the chances the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2026 in Sion would have brought to the canton and to the whole country of Switzerland," said the Swiss Olympic President, Jürg Stahl.

Switzerland last held the Winter Olympics in 1948 in St Moritz.

In February 2017 people in the Swiss canton of Graubünden voted decisively against Davos and St Moritz bidding for the 2026 Games in a referendum.

We reported on the rejection on 13th February 2017 in PlanetSKI's News in Brief.

The Sion bid was to use much existing infrastructure and the events would take place across 5 cantons.

The Sion PlanThe Sion Plan

An earlier referendum in the Austrian city of Innsbruck rejected a bid for 2026.
For those wanting to see the Winter Games back in the heart of the Alps rather, than in remote Asian venues with little history of snowsports it is another blow.

Among the other contenders for 2026  are Erzurum in Turkey, a joint Italian bid from Milan, Turin and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Graz in Austria, Sapporo in Japan and Stockholm in Sweden.
Here at PlanetSKI we have looked in the past at the problems facing the Winter Olympics and the views of the Swiss voters have hardly improved things.
Swiss Olympic bid?Swiss Olympic bid




















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