The International Olympic Committee pledged to boost funding for the 2026 Winter Olympics on Wednesday as it seeks it encourage more cities to bid for the games.
An ever-shrinking pool of cities willing to take on the multi-billion dollar cost of staging the games saw just two cities in the running for 2022 -- Beijing and Almaty.
Four cities -- Sion in Switzerland, Stockholm, Calgary and Sapporo are believed to be exploring a possible bid for 2026.
In addition, a US city could also enter the running, with Denver, Salt Lake City and Reno-Tahoe in northern California also mulling bids, even if US Olympic officials say a bid for 2030 is more likely.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi, said upwards of $925 million would be made available to the city awarded the games.
"The one thing that we said from the very beginning of the candidature is that the IOC will contribute to the effort of the OCOG (Organising Committees for the Olympic Games), and quite largely, 925 million contribution, so this is what we have already communicated to the 2026 cities," Dubi said.
The winning bid for 2026 will be announced in Milan in September 2019.
An IOC delegation is in Calgary, which hosted the 1988 Winter Games, to evaluate a possible bid for 2026, the IOC said Wednesday.
Dubi said Calgary's planned bid had "assets that are very supportive of a great bid."
Dubi said the IOC welcomed moves to incorporate facilities based outside of Calgary -- such as those at Whistler in British Columbia in its bid.
"We encourage bids using what is existing and it's a very good news that the vision is to work with Vancouver or Whistler," he said.
"This goes directly in the direction that we want," he added, citing the example of the 2008 Olympics, when Hong Kong hosted equestrian events during the Beijing Summer games.
© 2018 AFP