The Eugenio Monti sliding centre will be redeveloped for Milan Cortina 2026 ©Getty Images

An agreement has been signed for the redevelopment of the Eugenio Monti sliding venue, one of the key venues for the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

The agreement was signed by Veneto Governor Luca Zaia and Luigi Valerio Sant'Andrea, the extraordinary commissioner responsible for Milan Cortina 2026 infrastructure work.

Zaia announced the step forward in the redevelopment of the facility at an event in Venice, which recognised Olympic and Paralympic athletes from the region.

The Veneto Governor said the facility would become a reference point for winter sports.

"By doing so we have overcome the delays caused in relation to the pandemic," Zaia said.

"We deliver to the commissioner a work that has already been financed and can be set up, so as to be able to ensure a faster and more effective process, which will accelerate a strategic work for the territory and enhancement of the Veneto mountains on the occasion of the Milan Cortina 2026 Games.

"With this agreement we accelerate the race towards Milan Cortina 2026 the result of the synergy between public entities.

"A collaboration that in Veneto sees the Province of Belluno and the Municipality of Cortina alongside the Region and which today, with this further agreement, confirms the strategic importance of the Cortina plant.

"The bobsleigh, together with the fast luge and skeleton disciplines, represent an opportunity for promotion for the Veneto and for the entire national territory only if they find their home in the Eugenio Monti.

"The first facility in the world also dedicated to the Paralympic bobsleigh discipline, which will not only come back to life but I am sure it will become a European reference facility for winter sports and for National Federations."

Veneto Region Governor Luca Zaia said the agreement would accelerate the redevelopment of the sliding centre ©Getty Images
Veneto Region Governor Luca Zaia said the agreement would accelerate the redevelopment of the sliding centre ©Getty Images

Italy's Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Sustainable Transport, Alessandro Morelli, had identified a resolution on the renovation project as an "absolute priority" in January.

The agreement is expected to pave the way for construction work to begin.

Milan Cortina 2026 wants to host bobsleigh, skeleton and luge events at the venue, with the renovation project estimated to cost €61 million (£51 million/$69 million).

Certain local groups including the Comitato Civico Cortina had objected to renovating the Eugenio Monti sliding track because of the cost involved and environmental concerns.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had initially expressed reservations over the redevelopment of the sliding centre, which hosted Olympic competition in 1956.

The track was closed in 2008 due to rising maintenance costs.

The IOC Evaluation Commission had recommended using alternative venues, such as Innsbruck in Austria and St Moritz in Switzerland, but the proposal was rejected by Milan Cortina 2026.

IOC concerns centred around "major construction work" being required for the venue to be used at the Games, and there are worries about its legacy.

Approval was granted by the IOC for the redevelopment last April, with the Coordination Commission noting that final plans for the site are as part of an entertainment park unrelated to the Games.

The IOC said it would respect "a sovereign decision of the Veneto Region".