Italy's Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini insists that 80 per cent of venues for Milan Cortina 2026 will be ready in good time ©Getty Images

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has hit out at delays to construction for the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics but insists that 80 per cent of the work will be completed in "good time".

Salvini was speaking at the latest meeting of the Milan Cortina Foundation in Venice.

"I have been a minister for 4 months and I can say that we are unblocking construction sites and projects," Salvini said.

He took office in October last year as part of a far right coalition Government with Prime Minister Georgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party and also holds the post of Minister of Transport and Infrastructure.

"As far as I'm concerned, despite the years of delay accumulated previously, 80 per cent of the infrastructure will be finished in good time, we are working to increase that percentage," Salvini said.

"If everyone had done their job in previous years, I would be calmer, but I don't regret the past and I say that the Olympics will be an exceptional opportunity for development, not only for Milan and Cortina, but for all of Italy."

There had been delays in sponsorship and changes in leadership of the Organising Committee as a result of the change in Government.

Olympic and Paralympic officials from seven nations have conducted a two week inspection of facilities ©Milan Cortina 2026
Olympic and Paralympic officials from seven nations have conducted a two week inspection of facilities ©Milan Cortina 2026

Further disputes arose over the possible relocation of speed skating to Turin and the redevelopment of the bobsleigh track.

Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malagò insisted it was "the best meeting" he had attended since Milan Cortina was awarded the Games in 2019 at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Lausanne.

"We have dealt with all the issues, and the choices are clearing up moment by moment, then it is clear that there are financial assessments that are the responsibility of the Government," Malagò said.

"I only took the liberty of saying that of all the issues on the agenda, sports facilities represent the priority, because without them it is not possible to do the Olympics."

The IOC Coordination Commission made its first 'in person' visit in December and a party comprising National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee representatives from Austria, Britain, Canada, Germany, Finland, Japan and Norway made a two week visit at the beginning of the month.