Ital­ian Olympic Com­mit­tee sus­pends Rome’s 2024 bid

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


The Ital­ian Olympic Com­mit­tee is sus­pend­ing Rome’s bid for the 2024 Games for the time be­ing, while leav­ing open the pos­si­bil­ity for a re­vival of the can­di­dacy if there is a change in city govern­ment.

CONI pres­i­dent Gio­vanni Malago said he wrote a let­ter to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee yes­ter­day to “in­ter­rupt the can­di­dacy.” The move comes af­ter Rome’s city coun­cil voted last month to with­draw sup­port of the bid on the rec­om­men­da­tion of Mayor Vir­ginia Raggi.

Rome’s with­drawal would leave only Los An­ge­les, Paris, and Bu­dapest, Hun­gary, in the run­ning for the 2024 Games. The IOC will select the host city in Septem­ber 2017.

It would also mark the se­cond time in four years that a Rome bid has been with­drawn or in­ter­rupted. In 2012, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped the city’s bid for the 2020 Olympics be­cause of fi­nan­cial con­cerns.

Raggi, who rep­re­sents the anti-es­tab­lish­ment 5-Star Move­ment, said that tak­ing on the costs of an Olympic bid is “ir­re­spon­si­ble” for a city struggling to emerge from years of cor­rup­tion and poor pub­lic ser­vices.

While Raggi wrote a let­ter to the IOC last month, IOC rules state that only the na­tional Olympic com­mit­tee can with­draw a can­di­dacy. “Any­body can write to the IOC but the only let­ter that counts is the one from the pres­i­dent of the Olympic com­mit­tee,” Malago said at a news con­fer­ence.

Since be­ing elected in June as Rome’s first fe­male mayor, Raggi has had a rough first few months in of­fice. Her ad­min­is­tra­tion was thrown into chaos af­ter she dis­missed her Cabi­net chief and four other of­fi­cials re­signed.

Malago com­pared Rome’s situation to Vancouver’s with­drawal six months be­fore the 1980 Win­ter Games were awarded to Lake Placid in 1976. Vancouver had to wait 30 years to host the 2010 Win­ter Games.

“While it’s true that Canada had two games in the in­ter­ven­ing years - Mon­treal (1976) and Cal­gary (1988) - I think Vancouver paid a big price for that de­ci­sion,” Malago said. “Rome and Italy find them­selves in a sim­i­lar situation today.” Hop­ing to re­gain the trust of the IOC, Malago said that he was of­fer­ing up Mi­lan as host of the IOC ses­sion in 2019. “This is the first step of Italy’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion af­ter this un­ac­cept­able in­ter­rup­tion,” Malago said. “The other even­ing I had a chance to dis­cuss this pos­si­bil­ity with (IOC Pres­i­dent) Thomas Bach and IOC general di­rec­tor Christophe De Kep­per and there is am­ple sup­port for this idea.”“This is a way to turn the page and move on,” Malago added. Still, the “in­ter­rup­tion” of the bid is an­other sig­nal that the IOC still has work to do to con­vince cities that host­ing the games is a boon and not a bur­den.

Last month, a city govern­ment panel in Tokyo warned that the cost of the 2020 Olympics could ex­ceed $30 bil­lion, more than four times the ini­tial es­ti­mates. Vot­ers in Ham­burg re­jected the Ger­man city’s 2024 bid in a ref­er­en­dum, and Bos­ton dropped out last year amid a lack of pub­lic and po­lit­i­cal sup­port and was re­placed as the U.S. can­di­date by Los An­ge­les. Four cities with­drew dur­ing the bid­ding for the 2022 Win­ter Games, leav­ing only two can­di­dates in the field. Bei­jing, hardly known as a win­ter sports des­ti­na­tion, de­feated Al­maty, Kaza­khstan. —AP

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