IOC drops Turkish city Erzurum from 2026 Olympic bid race
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The IOC has dropped the Turkish city of Erzurum from a 2026 Winter Olympic bidding contest which had previously seen other possible bids fail.
Turkey's latest sporting rejection on Thursday came one week after it lost out to Germany over the right to stage soccer's 2024 European Championship. The country had also failed with bids to host Euro 2008, 2012 and 2016.
In addition, Istanbul is a five-time loser in Summer Games bidding, including the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo.
Erzurum had too little experience hosting winter sports and needed too much investment on venues, an International Olympic Committee panel said.
Three 2026 bids will now be proposed for approval as candidates by the full IOC membership next week in Buenos Aires.
They are: Calgary, Canada; Stockholm, Sweden; and the combined Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo. Calgary could yet be toppled, though, by a public vote in November.
The 2026 vote is scheduled next September at an IOC meeting which likely must be moved from its intended venue, Milan.
The bid process has been revised and made cheaper for potential bidders, aiming to ease concerns of European voters who have consistently rejected Olympic plans since Russia spent $51 billion on massive infrastructure linked to the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Voters had already rejected 2026 bids from Sion, Switzerland and two-time former host Innsbruck, Austria. Another former host, Sapporo, was in the race before Japan chose to focus on a 2030 bid.
The remaining field includes two former Winter Olympic hosts: Calgary in 1988 and Cortina in 1956.
The three-candidate proposal by the IOC's executive board followed recommendations by a working group led by vice president Juan-Antonio Samaranch Jr
Samaranch said telecommunications, transport and airports were "a little challenging" for Erzurum, a city in eastern Turkey which had also considered using facilities and venues in Russia.
"They have all our respect and we will continue to talk to them," the IOC official said.