Calgary has taken an important step towards formally entering the race for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games after the Provincial and Federal Governments confirmed they would financially support the formation of a Bid Corporation.
The backing is essential if the Canadian city, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988, is to press ahead but it does not guarantee it will bid.
Ottawa has committed CAD$10.5 million (£5.8 million/$8.1 million/€6.6 million) in funds and the Government of Alberta has pledged CAD$10 million (£5.5 million/$7.7 million/€6.3 million).
The confirmation of the funding was hailed as an "exciting step towards determining whether a bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is right for Calgary" by the city's Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
Nenshi has repeatedly warned a bid cannot go ahead without the financial backing of the Governments.
"We have a strong legacy of sport in this city and we know we can host a great Games, and now, alongside our partners in the government of Alberta and the government of Canada, we can continue to figure out if a 2026 bid is the best interests of our citizens," added Nenshi.
Confusion surfaced earlier this month when a report claiming the city had been guaranteed financial support from the Governments was posted on the City of Calgary website incorrectly.
The report and attached documents were then removed from the agenda minutes on the city's website.
It now appears, however, that the information was correct and merely released accidentally.
A project team from the City of Calgary last year took over the work of the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee and concluded the cost of hosting the Games would be CAD$4.6 billion (£2.6 billion/$3.6 billion/€2.9 billion).
It has been claimed Calgary has already spent CAD$6 million (£3.3 million/$6 million/€3.8 million) on exploring a possible bid for the Games.
"We are very pleased to see this pledge of support from all three levels of Government," Canadian Olympic Committee chief executive and secretary general Chris Overholt.
"Today is a very important step forward for the City of Calgary and for our collective efforts as we thoroughly assess the opportunity and impact of hosting an Olympic Games.
"We look forward to continuing our work with all stakeholders to advance the potential of Calgary 2026."
The announcement comes only two days prior to the March 31 deadline for countries interesting in bidding to inform the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Sion in Switzerland, Stockholm in Sweden, Sapporo in Japan, Erzurum in Turkey and Graz and Schladming in Austria are other contenders in the 2026 race, while a joint Milan-Turin bid was formally proposed earlier today.
United States, Kazakhstan and Norway have decided to concentrate on potentially bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
After March 31, bidders will plan more details about their bid before the International Olympic Committee Session votes to decide the official candidates in October.
A host should then be chosen next year.