ANNO XIV Maggio 2020.  Direttore Umberto Calabrese

Mercoledì, 21 Settembre 2016 22:29

Rome to quit race to host 2024 Olympics

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Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi will withdraw the city’s backing for a bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games in the Italian capital, a city hall official said on Wednesday.

Raggi’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which took control of Rome in June, had always expressed doubts about staging the sporting spectacular, saying the heavily indebted city could ill afford the investment needed. Raggi is due to hold a news conference later on Wednesday.

Mayor Virginia Raggi on Wednesday said no to Rome's 2024 Olympic bid, sinking it. She said it would have been "irresponsible" to back the bid and that she was opposed to an "Olympics of real estate speculators", adding that the capital was still paying back debts taken out for the Games it hosted in 1960.

Raggi, a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), campaigned on a platform including opposition to the bid before being elected Rome's first woman mayor in June by a landslide 67%. This means a majority of the people of Rome have "already said no to the Olympics," Raggi told reporters after failing to meet with Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) chief Giovanni Malagò, who walked out after she reportedly left him waiting for more than 35 minutes.

"The Olympics are a dream turning into a nightmare - a blank cheque signed by host cities, as shown by an Oxford University study," Raggi said. "We don't have the data from Rio (de Janeiro), but we have the images of its inhabitants before our eyes," she said of the Brazilian city that just hosted this year's Summer Olympics. "The Olympics are useful for business, not for residents."

Malagò later said Raggi would be better off not filing a motion against the capital's bid to hold the 2024 Olympics. "A word of advice to Virginia Raggi: she's better off not filing the motion she spoke of," Malagò said. "It mentions cities that withdrew (their candidacy) that were never candidates in the first place... Unlike others, I know what I'm talking about when talking about the Olympics".

Raggi's M5S said in a draft motion that "following an in-depth analysis, we believe the conditions for the ongoing candidacy of the City of Rome for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics aren't there".

The draft goes on to list cities around the world it says have withdrawn bids to host the Olympics in the past, namely: Boston (withdrawn by its mayor "in view of the elevated risk that the costs would fall on city residents", according to the motion), Dubai, Hamburg (withdrawn after a popular referendum), Madrid (withdrawn by its mayor), and San Diego in California.

The city council is to debate that motion sometime next week, according to sources at City Hall.

Malagò also said Raggi has perhaps "forgotten" that CONI has changed the rules for Olympic bids making them less costly, and that CONI would "go on" until it gets a "formal" communication from the mayor.

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