An IOC inspection panel is due to visit Calgary ©Getty Images

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation is due to visit Calgary today to discuss their potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The delegation, which is set to include the organisation's executive director for the Olympic Games, Christophe Dubi, comes part of a more "proactive" invitation stage before the bidding process officially begins in October.

They will pay their own way while in Calgary rather than be supported by Canadian organisers. 

"They're here now as part of their work - there's a new system where they come to us and they pay, and today is the first of what might be many visits," said the city's Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

"And it really is a ground-setting exercise, just to kind of figure out where we're at in our process and the kinds of things we're thinking about.

"It's a pretty good signal from the International Olympic Committee that they're serious about the new process, the Agenda 2020 process that's meant to get rid of corruption, it's meant to get rid of the wining and dining and there's no nice way of saying it, it's meant to get rid of that whole sense that you can buy an Olympic Games."

Calgary is among cities across five nations currently interested in bidding for the Games in a reformed bidding process.

Sion in Switzerland, Sapporo in Japan, Stockholm in Sweden and, possibly, Salt Lake City, Denver or Reno in the United States, are also considering mounting bids.

Christophe Dubi is expected to be a leading figure in the IOC delegation ©Getty Images
Christophe Dubi is expected to be a leading figure in the IOC delegation ©Getty Images

Formal bid books must now be completed by late 2018, however, before being submitted to the IOC in January 2019.

The Calgary City Council voted in favour of pressing ahead with their possible bid late last year but still face lingering doubts over whether to proceed. 

They voted by a 10-4 majority to continue with a project currently expected to cost around CAD4.6 billion (£2.7 billion/$3.7 billion/€3 billion).

"I think it's a great opportunity for us to say the event is a fabulous event, there's nothing wrong with holding it as long as it makes absolute financial sense to the municipality that's doing it," Councillor Shane Keating added to the Calgary Herald.

"My view is it's about time they paid their own dimes. 

"They get huge amounts of revenue from the Olympic Games, it's time that they became accountable for those revenues as well."

Calgary last hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988.

Innsbruck has already crashed out of the 2026 race after the Austrian city failed with a referendum in October.

A similar ballot is expected in most of the cantons involved in the potential Sion bid on June 10 next year.