IOC President Bach Thanks Rome 2024 For Outstanding Olympic Bid Work; Blames Politics For “Withdrawal”

IOC President Thomas Bach speaks at press briefing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia August 3, 2015 (GamesBids Photo)

IOC President Thomas Bach speaks at press briefing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia August 3, 2015 (GamesBids Photo)

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) posted Monday on its website a letter received from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach regarding Rome’s 2024 Olympic Bid.

Penned in response to CONI President Giovanni Malago’s letter last week that outlined the Eternal City’s “suspension” of it’s 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid, Bach said he understood that the actions were “politically motivated for reasons beyond the Olympic project.”

“The IOC is fully aware that this was a very difficult decision for CONI to take, enjoying support for the candidature from all other levels of Government and the people of Rome and Italy.”

Opposed by Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, the City Council earlier this month voted against supporting the bid, forcing the campaign to grind to a halt.  But Malago refused to completely withdraw the bid while committee members murmured about the possibility of resurrecting the campaign should the city leadership change before the end of the year.

However Bach’s use of the word “withdrawal” in his letter casts some doubt on the actual status the bid, alluding to the likelihood that the IOC has already written off the campaign before it carries out an evaluation of the bid’s stage 2 candidature file prior to a December 6 Executive Board decision on which bids may move forward to stage 3.

“The IOC has taken note of the withdrawal of the Candidature of Rome for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad,” the letter read, italics added for emphasis.

Malago’s suspension of the bid was required because of the public funding involved, but he made it clear that he wanted to leave the window open in case political forces in Italy changed.  However, the IOC may view this differently.

In the letter Bach added praise for the entities supporting the project, he said “I would like to thank CONI and the Candidature Committee for their outstanding work which resulted in an excellent project for a sustainable, feasible and transparent candidature in the line with Olympic Agenda 2020.”

“There is no doubt that this project would have left a positive and sustainable legacy for the City of Rome and the Lazio Region, to which the IOC would have contributed with an investment of about USD 1.7 billion.

“May I also kindly ask you to convey the IOC’s thanks to the Government of Italy, the Regional Government and Regional Council of Lazio and all Italians, who have supported this candidature so much. Please rest assured that the excellent relations between the IOC and CONI will not be affected by this decision. We will continue to work closely with CONI to promote and develop Olympic sport in Italy.”

Malago has already been working with the Mayor of Milan on a potential 2028 Olympic bid, as well as an IOC Session in that city.

Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris remain campaigning in the race that is set to be decided September 2017 in Lima, Peru.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil