Up­date on Rome 2024 Olympic bid ex­pected next Tues­day fol­low­ing crit­i­cal mile­stone

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Of­fi­cials will re­main tight-lipped about the fate of Rome’s 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid un­til an Oc­to­ber 11 press con­fer­ence, that has re­port­edly been sched­uled by the Ital­ian Olympic Com­mit­tee (CONI), is held in Italy’s cap­i­tal.

How­ever, in­for­ma­tion about the di­rec­tion of the bid com­mit­tee could be re­leased sooner, per­haps as early as Fri­day when phase 2 bid doc­u­ments are due into the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) from Rome – and from ri­vals Bu­dapest, Los An­ge­les and Paris.

The IOC and the cities them­selves typ­i­cally is­sue press re­leases con­firm­ing the sub­mis­sion of the crit­i­cal doc­u­ments, and if Rome were to miss the dead­line it would of­fi­cially spell the end of its cam­paign.

Last month Rome’s Mayor Vir­ginia Raggi pulled the re­quired mu­nic­i­pal sup­port from the bid, ful­fill­ing her elec­tion prom­ise to fo­cus spend­ing on fun­da­men­tal city projects in­stead of an Olympic Games.

That en­dorse­ment was to be in­cluded in Fri­day’s sub­mis­sion, along with letters of sup­port from other stake­hold­ers.

But un­con­firmed ru­mors in the Ital­ian press have been sug­gest­ing that Rome 2024 may sub­mit the doc­u­ments with­out the Mayor’s ap­proval – a move that could buy time to al­low the bid com­mit­tee to fur­ther pres­sure the city coun­cil, or hope for a re­call of the em­bat­tled Mayor who was elected in the sum­mer on an an­ticor­rup­tion plat­form.

This re­newed hope has been fu­eled by a visit to the Eter­nal City by IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach who is in the cap­i­tal to at­tend the Sport at the Ser­vice of Hu­man­ity con­fer­ence at the Vat­i­can.

Bach re­port­edly met with with CONI Pres­i­dent Gio­vanni Malago for sev­eral hours Tues­day to dis­cuss the bid, among other is­sues.

But Bach said he has re­fused to get in­volved in the po­lit­i­cal is­sues.

He told As­so­ci­ated Press “this is a po­lit­i­cal dis­cus­sion here in Italy and the IOC is po­lit­i­cally neu­tral, so we will not in­ter­fere in in­ter­nal Ital­ian pol­i­tics.”

“Quite frankly I do not think that this dis­cus­sion has a lot to do with the Olympic Games.

“That’s the im­pres­sion I get, that this is about in­ter­nal Ital­ian pol­i­tics.” Bach also said that he had not met with Raggi while vis­it­ing Rome.

By sub­mit­ting the doc­u­ments ahead of the dead­line, Rome could ex­tend its vi­a­bil­ity un­til at least De­cem­ber 6 when the IOC Ex­ec­u­tive Board (EB) meets in Lau­sanne and will re­view an eval­u­a­tion com­mis­sion dash­board. Ac­cord­ing to the new bid process be­ing fol­lowed for the first time, the EB may choose at that time to de­fer any bid that they con­sider to be de­fi­cient. Pre­sum­ably, lack of mu­nic­i­pal sup­port would fall into that cat­e­gory.

If Rome 2024 pushes for­ward, a del­e­ga­tion would be ex­pected to present bid plans to the As­so­ci­a­tion of Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tees (ANOC) Gen­eral As­sem­bly in Doha in Novem­ber – though a crit­i­cal op­por­tu­nity, it is not tech­ni­cally re­quired. Rome al­ready aban­doned a chance to host an im­por­tant 30 minute press con­fer­ence at the Rio Olympic Games in Au­gust.

The next (USD) $150,000 bid fee in­stall­ment is not due to the IOC un­til Jan­uary, 2017 – though fur­ther op­er­a­tional costs to get the cam­paign to that point would likely triv­i­al­ize that amount.

On Sun­day the @Roma2024 bid Twit­ter and Facebook feeds went omi­nously dark af­ter days of fre­quent posts de­fend­ing the val­ues of the Olympic project. In to­day’s con­nected world where so­cial me­dia rep­re­sents the heart and soul of a cam­paign, these miss­ing vi­tal signs likely in­di­cate that Rome 2024 has in­deed ended.

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