And then there were five. Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti called off Rome’s 2020 Olympic bid Tuesday morning citing the uncertain costs and risks that would have been intolerable during a time of national financial crisis. Despite earlier assurances from Mayor Gianni Alemanno that things were looking positive, Monti’s decision effectively ends Rome’s two-year-old campaign to host the Games.
Wednesday is the deadline for bids to submit application files and guarantee letters from various government officials that would effectively underwrite any costs associated with organizing the Games. Without the Prime Minister’s signature, the bid can not proceed.
Rome defeated Venice in May 2010 to win the national nomination to bid for the Games. The international race kicked off in September last year and the Rome bid committee has been working to prepare documents that would have been delivered to International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne today.
Bookmakers had been placing Rome among the frontrunners in the race and many analysts believed a Rome bid would be strong. Rome last hosted the Games in 1960; Italy’s last Games were the Winter edition in Turin in 2006.
Rome’s early exit leaves five bids – Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo – to compete for the Games. The new scenario may boost the spirits of the remaining cities as the IOC often accepts five to the shortlist. Both Doha and Baku missed that list during their previous campaigns for the 2016 Games won by Rio de Janeiro.
Baku, Doha and Tokyo have already met the application deadline. Madrid and Istanbul are expected to file before the deadline Wednesday.
The shortlist will be selected May in Quebec City, Canada.