Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games was formally suspended Tuesday, the announcement coming from Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago at a press conference in the Eternal City.
“This morning I wrote a letter to the IOC to interrupt Rome’s bid to host the Games of 2024.”
The suspension of the bid, coming after Rome withdrew from the previous race four years ago, was expected after last month Mayor Virginia Raggi motioned to pull municipal support for the bid and city council later voted in favour of her proposal. The council and the Mayor represent Italy’s Five Star Movement Party who represent anti-corruption, cost-cutting and were generally against the Olympic bid.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, remains unclear on the situation itself as it moves forward evaluating the cities ahead of a December 6 Executive Board meeting review.
In a statement to GamesBids.com, the IOC explained “we have taken note of the decision by Rome 2024 and will further explore with the Candidature Committee what this means. All the circumstances and the information that we have received in the past days clearly demonstrate that this is about Italian politics only.”
Raggi had written a letter to the IOC last week after Malago and his bid seemed to linger behind the scenes promoting the campaign, even going as far as submitting additional bid application documents on Friday.
“Anybody can write to the IOC but the only letter that counts is the one from the president of the Olympic committee,” Malago said at a press conference.
“This is a way to turn the page and move on.”
There are still thoughts that the bid may try to remain viable as hopes for a change in the municipal government became real Monday. The newly elected Metropolitan City Council is said to hold a majority of those who would support the Olympic project, and discussions could be held in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday Malago reportedly refused to confirm that the bid had been withdrawn.
Malago went on to underscore the damage done to Rome’s reputation in Olympic circles, noting a similar cancellation by Vancouver of a bid in 1974 when the 1980 Games went instead to Lake Placid.
“While it’s true that Canada staged two games in the intervening years, Montreal in 1976 and Calgary in 1988, I think Vancouver paid a large price for that decision,” he said.
“Rome and Italy find themselves in a similar situation today.”
To help keep Italy connected with the Olympic Movement Malago said he has nominated the City of Milan to host the IOC Session in 2019, the earliest available date for the pinnacle meeting of that organization each year. He said he has already confirmed this with the city’s Mayor and Governor.
The bid’s withdrawal would leave only Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris in the race to be concluded at an election in Lima, Peru September 13, 2017.
Last year, Hamburg became the first of five initial applicants to leave the race after the city lost a referendum over the project.
Rome 2024 General Director Diana Bainchedi said “Rome 2024 path will leave a tangible legacy to the city. Studies and papers in the territory that will be useful.”
“Amateur sport is struggling in Italy. From here we share, by these values to look forward.”
Malago said “now we must look to the future, with many new challenges that lie ahead.”
“A special thanks to all those who believed in the project.”
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