The venue for sliding events at the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics is a long-standing source of controversy ©Getty Images

The Italian Government has agreed to evaluate possible alternatives to staging the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge events at the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics at a controversial proposed new track in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

No offers have been received to construct the facility on the site of the demolished Eugenio Monti track even though the tender process began in June, and the project continues to face local opposition from groups who fear its environmental impact and legacy value.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) initially had reservations over using the track for Milan Cortina 2026 before approving plans in April 2021, but there has been renewed interest from Innsbruck in Austria in hosting sliding events given the ongoing uncertainty.

A motion had been presented by 11 members of Italy's Green Europe party led by Luana Zanella to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Italian Parliament, seeking to direct the Government to press ahead with the offer Innsbruck’s Mayor Georg Willi.

After an intervention from Deputy Justice Minister Francesco Paolo Sisto, it was agreed the motion would be amended to commit "the Government to evaluate the opportunity of alternative solutions compared to the construction of the bobsleigh track in Cortina".

It was passed with 212 votes in favour and six abstentions.

Innsbruck in Austria has offered to stage sliding events at Milan Cortina 2026 ©Getty Images
Innsbruck in Austria has offered to stage sliding events at Milan Cortina 2026 ©Getty Images

"It's a definitive position," Zanella said, as reported by il Fatto Quotidiano.

"The Government eventually gave in, adding the ability to search for other sites.

"I think they want to avoid making a fool of themselves."

Estimated costs for the Cortina track have nearly doubled from initial estimates to €80 million (£69.4 million/$84.7 million).

In addition to the environmental and financial concerns, opponents believe there may not be enough time to construct the new track with the Winter Olympics less than two-and-a-half years away.

Other alternatives for sliding events are reported to be St Moritz in Switzerland and Yanqing in China, where a track was built for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the first woman to hold the role who was elected last year and is viewed as the country's most right-wing leader since World War Two, met with IIOC President Thomas Bach in New York City last month to discuss preparations for Milan Cortina 2026.

The Winter Olympics are scheduled for February 6 to 22 2026, followed by the Paralympics from March 6 to 15.