Italian Radical Party Pushes for Rome 2024 Olympic Bid Referendum

Referendum Roma 2024
Referendum Roma 2024

The left-wing Italian Radical Party has made fresh calls for a referendum over Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid despite the bid committee’s assurances last month that such a referendum would not be required.

The fringe party that has had only minor successes over the past several years has launched the “Referendum Roma 2024” campaign through a new website  On the site the party outlines its issues in a 28-page dossier that describes a recent history of Olympic cost over-runs, unsustainable legacies and financial failures.  It also includes a petition to be sent to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Special Commissioner Francesco Paolo Tronca asking for a referendum to decide whether the project with a “budget of between eight and ten billion (USD)” should move forward.

Referencing the long legacy of tax burden on citizens in Quebec, Canada (from the Montreal 1976 Games), Grenoble, France and Barcelona, Spain – Referendum Roma 2024 urges that the citizens should have the right to decide in Rome.  The petition letter also points to referendums that were held in Davos, Krakow, Oslo and Hamburg – the latter German city a former bid rival of Rome that was forced to remove itself from the 2024 race.

In December Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago said, “we don’t have any obligation or judicial instrument to form a referendum like the one in Germany.”

“But I’ve always supported that starting in February, once we outline the bid dossier, that over the ensuring year there will be chances to discuss it and survey the city.  And there’s nothing to worry about that”.

Italian Radical's Spokesperson Riccardo Magi (Twitter)
Italian Radical’s Spokesperson Riccardo Magi (Twitter)

Opponents of Budapest’s bid are pushing for a referendum in Hungary but other 2024 bid hopefuls in Los Angeles and Paris aren’t expecting any votes in their cities.

In a list of cities that recently abandoned Olympic bids due to swelling opposition, Referendum Roma 2024 referenced No Boston Olympic’s instrumental role in toppling America’s initial bid choice.

No Boston Olympics Co-Chair Chris Dempsey told Tuesday that though he was pleased that his group was referenced on the Website, he has not been contacted by the organization for assistance.  Dempsey, after successfully opposing Boston’s bid for the Games, later worked with Hamburg 2024 opponents to help defeat the German bid’s referendum.

The referendum’s Website connects to a dedicated Facebook page and the Twitter account of Italian Radical’s spokesperson Riccardo Magi who seems to be the face of the initiative.

The 2024 Olympic bid race kicked off with the smallest initial Summer Games field in decades and has already been further diminished with Hamburg’s demise.  Further withdrawals due to referendums could be devastating to the Olympic movement.

The four 2024 bidders must provide the first phase of their bid dossier to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), along with government guarantees, by February 17.  The IOC will elect a winner in September 2017.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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