Thomas Bach has backed Italy to deliver a successful Winter Olympics in 2026 despite challenges ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has admitted that there are multiple "challenges" facing the organisers of the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Bach travelled to Italy this week to receive the Golden Collar - the highest award of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).

"We are very confident that we will celebrate excellent Games," said Bach.

"There are challenges to face: from sustainability to the economic crisis, but we don't have to worry because we are counting on the efficiency and skills of our Italian friends.

"Let's unite and live this Olympic spirit, faster, higher, stronger, together. 

"Come on Azzurri."

Delays in construction of venues due to the costs, a leadership vacancy following the expected departure of chief executive Vincenzo Novari and a lack of sponsors amid the financial crisis are some of the concerns that need to be addressed.

The IOC's Coordination Commission was supposed to visit Milan and Cortina venues this month before it was postponed to December because of elections in the country later this month.

Andrea Abodi is viewed as a favourite to replace Novari as chief executive following the general elections on September 25.

He is supported by the far-right Brothers of Italy party, which is projected to be in power following the election, and the centre-left Democratic Party.

Among costs, the $80 million (£69.3 million/€79.8 million) renovations planned for the Pista Eugenio Monti in Cortina, set to stage bobsleigh, luge and skeleton races, is set to be one of the most expensive venue upgrades for the Winter Olympics in 2026.  

However, the German administrator claimed that it will not be included in the official budget of the Games.

"This would be a touristic and sport project which would go ahead anyway and regardless of the Olympic Winter Games," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

The Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from February 6 to 22 2026.