The Italian Olympic Committee has asked the new Sports Minister to appoint a new Milan Cortina 2026 chief executive as a matter of urgency ©CONI

The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) is to make an "urgent request" to new Italian Sports Minister Andrea Abodi for the appointment of a new chief executive for the Milan Cortina 2026 Organising Committee.

Abodi, who had been President of a bank, the Institute for Sports Credit, since 2017, had been considered as a frontrunner for the Olympic and Paralympic post before his appointment as Italy's new Sports Minister.

He was named by new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni who has insisted her Brothers of Italy party should make the important "strategic decisions" for the 2026 Games including naming a successor to Vicenzo Novari as chief executive of the Organising Committee.

CONI President Giovanni Malagò said that Abodi's appointment deserved "congratulations with great satisfaction", as CONI's National Council met at the Foro Italico in Rome.

Malagò is also the Milan Cortina 2026 President.

Abodi is the first to be appointed as Sports Minister in Italy since 2021.

In the previous Government, six-time Olympic fencing gold medallist Valentina Vezzali was undersecretary for sport.

Abodi takes up his new portfolio as CONI confirmed a remodelling of its budget after a deficit of €2.3 million (£1.99 million/$2.31 million) which has been attributed to increase in energy prices and management costs of the Olympic Preparation Centres.

In the early part of his career, Abodi had worked for the Italian arm of Trans World International, the television and sports marketing sector of Mark McCormack’s International Management Group (IMG).

Later Abodi handled the marketing of Olympic bids for 2004 and 2020 from his native city of Rome.

He also led the Organising Committee for the 2009 Baseball World Cup when matches were staged across Italy.

Abodi had been head of Italian football's Lega Serie B from 2010 to 2017 and a Council member for the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

"I thank Prime Minister Meloni for giving back dignity to our world with a Minister who understands the real problems afflicting Italian sport," FICG President Gabriele Gavina said.

Italy is due to stage the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in fewer than four years ©Getty Images
Italy is due to stage the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in fewer than four years ©Getty Images

"It is an extraordinary piece of news for Italian sport and for football in particular," Gavina insisted.

"He is a committed director who is often able to combine vision with pragmatism, which is what we need to support those thousands of sports clubs that are currently struggling."

Abodi had been keen to build stadia during his tenure as part of a programme called B Futura.

"We shared ideas and projects with Abodi, not least of which is getting something practical done on sporting infrastructure, which represents the really big challenge to relaunch the system in Italy also thanks to the 2032 European Championship," Gavina added.

Italy is seeking to hold the men's tournament in 2032, after opting against a bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

That bid and preparations for the 206 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to feature prominently in Abodi's chief concerns as the new Sports Minister.