While Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi continues to exchange bitter remarks with Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) chief Giovanni Malago over the city’s suspended Olympic bid – Milan Mayor Beppe Sala has offered his city to bid for Italy to host the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
But in order to move forward, Sala says, the 2024 Games would have to be awarded to a non-European city “such as Los Angeles.” L.A. is the only non-European city in the race among rivals Budapest and Paris.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport Thursday Sala said “if Paris were chosen, we would not even talk about [a bid], but if Los Angeles wins, a non-European city, then CONI would think to nominate Milan for 2028.”
“Indeed I say that it would be very fair to do so, provided that the Olympics was an opportunity to invest in city sports.”
LA 2024 Chair Casey Wasserman said in a Statement Tuesday “we are disappointed in today’s news [of Rome’s suspension] as we have enjoyed our interactions with the leaders of the Rome 2024 bid.”
Sala explained that Milan is both an industrial and financial city with expanding tourism, and has experience organizing large events. He sees events staged in both Milan and Genoa, with the latter being adjacent to the sea.
Milan last bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games but withdrew before the final vote reportedly because the “Italian city’s image had been sullied by political corruption,” the Associated Press reported in 1993. Rome withdrew a 2020 Games bid after the Prime Minister withheld support amid an economic recession.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not be accepting applicant for the 2028 Games until 2019.
Meanwhile Raggi continued to defend her controversial decision to end the Rome 2024 Olympic bid last week. She said on Facebook Wednesday that her decision was to protect “children from the burden of further debt, which an irresponsible political class intended to heap on them in order to host the 2024 Olympics”.
She went on to accuse Renzi and Malagò of “going on and on about the Games in order to distract attention from citizens’ real problems.”
She also asserted that the money from from the federal government intended to be used to support the Olympic Games, if it had won the bid, should be spent in Rome anyways.
To that Renzi quipped “Raggi wants the money that would have been allocated to Rome for the Olympics?”
“What an interesting, intriguing hypothesis. I will forward it to (IOC Chief Thomas) Bach. Why not – when I get the email I’ll just press ‘forward’.”
Renzi, an Olympic supporter, and Raggi represent opposing political parties in Italy and the decision over the Olympic bid has been manipulated by underlying political agendas. This is not lost on the IOC that on Tuesday released in a statement “all the circumstances and the information that we have received in the past days clearly demonstrate that this is about Italian politics only.”
The application for Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid is technically still open with the IOC – Malago was legally forced to cease operations of the bid committee because it relied on government funding, but he could restart the campaign at a later date. With the volatile political climate in Italy, CONI could take advantage of a possible future political shift if one happens in the near future.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com 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.