Rome Continues 2020 Olympic Bid Despite Crisis

Rome is continuing its bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, despite Italy’s financial and political crisis.

The bid committee said in a statement, “Rome’s bid is going forward and there is no chance that will be put up for discussion. While aware of the particular moment Italy is going through, the board has confirmed the importance of continuing the Rome 2020 project with determination”.

Leaders of Rome’s bid approved a 31 million euro bid budget.

Following a meeting between bid Chairman and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President Mario Pescante, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno, and others, the committee said hosting the Olympics would bring economic and development benefits “for Rome and the entire country”.

On Tuesday Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he would step aside for the good of the country once Parliament passes economic reforms, adding that he wouldn’t run again for office.

Rome 2020 officials reportedly said they are still working on a parliamentary motion supporting the bid, and have already confirmed that the government will help compile a bid file that must be submitted to the IOC by February 15.

Officials now say if Rome is awarded the Games, the Olympic budget would be about five billion euros, down from projections of nine billion euros earlier this year.

Rome’s bid is centred around mostly existing venues that were used for the 1960 Games, including the expansive Foro Italico complex that hosts the 80,000-seat Stadio Olimpico, a newly built 10,5000-seat tennis stadium, and outdoor pools used for the 2009 swimming world championships.

Pescante has said he is hoping Rome’s bid can be “a blueprint for a return to fiscal responsibility and real sustainability in the Olympic bidding process”.

Rome is competing with Madrid, Tokyo, Istanbul, Doha, Qatar and Baku for the 2020 Games.

The IOC Executive Board is to meet in May to decide whether to keep all six candidates or reduce the list. The IOC will select a host city in September 2013.

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