Rome 2024 Olympic bid collapses in acrimony

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Rome is set to drop its bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024, after its anti-establishment mayor said it would be “irresponsible” to be a candidate.

Virginia Raggi of the Five Star movement was elected as mayor of the Italian capital in June.

There was confusion earlier when reports said she had failed to turn up for a meeting with a delegation from the Italian Olympic Committee.

Rome also pulled out of bidding for the 2020 Olympics for financial reasons.

Boston and Hamburg have already dropped out of the running for the 2024 Games, leaving Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest as remaining bidders.

Candidate cities must confirm their application and the endorsement of local public leaders by 7 October.


Why Raggi said no: James Reynolds

In ancient times here, Roman emperors offered the thrill of bread and circuses to appease and divert a restless population.

That tactic, it seems, no longer works. These days, Rome is a city which can barely pick up its own rubbish.

Among many Romans, the idea of hosting an Olympic Games hasn’t provoked much enthusiasm.

The new mayor knows that. She comes from the populist Five Star Movement, which has strongly opposed a bid for the Games.

Ms Raggi has had a difficult first few weeks in power. Her tenure has been overshadowed by accusations of mismanagement and cover-ups. Rejecting the Olympics may be her way of winning back popularity and asserting her own authority over the city.

Screengrab from Roma 2024 bid websiteThe Rome bid was proposing to centre the Games around some of the city’s monuments

‘No to the Games of concrete’

Ms Raggi came to power after repeatedly saying she opposed the 2024 bid, but there were hopes that she might agree to a local referendum.

The head of the Italian Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malago, has already indicated that without her support the bid will not go ahead. The bid committee was due to respond to the mayor’s comments later.

The International Olympic Committee will elect the host at a vote in Lima, Peru in September 2017, with Paris considered the favourite after unsuccessfully bidding for the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Games.

The head of the Italian Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malago, (21 Sept)Giovanni Malago (L) was left waiting for a meeting with the mayor, who failed to turn up

“We are effectively asking the people of Rome and of Italy to shoulder the debts. We just don’t support it,” Ms Raggi told reporters.

“No to the Olympics of concrete, absolutely not! No to cathedrals in the desert,” she said.

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