Palasharp rejig at a standstill over cost rise


Winter Olympic competitions moved Image: Fiera Milano

The women’s ice hockey tournament at the 2026 Winter Olympic Games has been moved to the Fiera Milano Rho (Milan, Italy) instead of the PalaSharp as the latter’s renovation is at a standstill.

‘inside the games’ stated that work was being done to the PalaSharp in Milan after it was abandoned in 2011 due to “total degradation”.

The 2026 Winter Olympics, officially the XXV Olympic Winter Games and also known as Milano-Cortina 2026, is an upcoming international multisport event scheduled to take place from February 6th-22nd, 2026 in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Milan (Italy)-based the Fiera Milano Rho, opened in 2005, is a fairground complex designed by the Italian Architect Massimiliano Fuksas, located in an area on the border between the towns of Rho and Pero replacing the former grounds which were developed into the new CityLife district of Milan. The Fiera Milano Rho location is mainly used for industrial trade shows.

The PalaTrussardi, later known as PalaVobis, PalaTucker, Mazda Palace, and PalaSharp, was an indoor arena located in Milan, Italy. The seating capacity was 8,479 and it hosted concerts and sporting events. It was built in 1985 to replace two pre-existing structures, the Sport Palace and the Palatenda.

‘inside the games’ further stated that however, costs have doubled from the initially budgeted €13 million (£11.2 million/$14.3 million) to €26 million (£22 million/$28 million) due to unresolved logistical constraints and increasing material costs.

The Fiera Milano Rho is due to stage women’s ice hockey tournaments in its 22nd and 24th Halls, opposite to Halls 13 and 15 which are scheduled to host speed skating at the Games, also switched there in April from its original proposed venue at Baselga di Pinè (in Trento, Italy) because of rising costs.

The site is due to undergo a renovation of its own that will facilitate the implementation of an ice rink that meets international standards.

Temporary seating is also planned to be added with will bolster the current capacity of 6,500.

Said Giovanni Malagò, Milan Cortina 2026 Organising Committee and Italian National Olympic Committee President, “We have arrived at a solution that represents a benchmark in terms of flexibility: A sustainable, innovative choice in line with the identification of the trade company Fiera Milano already as a speed skating venue, which will allow Italy to be an example for future editions of the Games. Once again, our thanks go to the institutions and all the stakeholders with whom we partner and who share with us the engaging experience of the journey to the biggest event that Italy will host in the years to come.”

Rome (Italy)-based the Italian National Olympic Committee, founded in 1914 and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is responsible for the development and management of sports activity in Italy.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a non-Governmental sports organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is constituted in the form of an association under the Swiss Civil Code.

As it stands, there are no plans to relocate the men’s ice hockey tournament which is due to take place at the still under-construction PalaItalia Santa Giulia.

The PalaItalia Santa Giulia is a projected Milan venue for the 2026 Winter Olympics. It will accommodate 15,000 spectators. After 2026, it will be used as a multipurpose venue. Completion is expected by the end of 2025 and it would be the largest multipurpose arena in Italy.

Costs are also increasing rapidly, with it now expected to be around €270 million (£233 million/$297 million) instead of the original estimate of €180 million (£155 million/$198 million).

Said Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, “We are satisfied with the solution found. The international situation, which has led to a sharp increase in the cost of raw materials, has necessitated the timely search for sustainable operational solutions that would allow us to guarantee an adequate performance of women’s hockey competitions and some men’s competitions in our City. The decision to host these competitions at Fiera Milano, as was also decided for speed skating, is the result of the concrete and effective institutional cooperation between the Municipality of Milan, the Region of Lombardy, the Organising Committee of Milan Cortina 2026, and the Managers of the Fiera Milano, a strategic and valuable choice that will allow us to meet deadlines and offer athletes a venue that is up to the task. Added to this is the satisfaction of the start of work on the PalaItalia Santa Giulia, which will therefore be completed by 2025. Milan is establishing itself as the venue for the hockey competitions of the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”

Politicians, including Milan’s Councilor for Sport Martina Riva, have reaffirmed the desire to continue with the PalaSharp’s redevelopment saying that it must be done with “determination and enthusiasm”.

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