Rome Bid Scuttled by Monti
Around the Rings is told that Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has refused to support a bid from Rome for the 2020 Olympics. Official confirmation came later Tuesday
Monti convened a meeting of the Council of Ministers Tuesday morning to formalize his position on the bid, following evaluation of the costs and benefits of bidding for the Olympics for the troubled Italian economy.
The Italian premier confirmed his decision in a later meeting with Rome 2020 president Mario Pescante, Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno and Gianni Petrucci, head of the country's Olympic committee.
Earlier today, bid insiders told Around the Rings they had a "negative feeling" about Rome's bid following Monti's failure to commit himself to the city's Olympic ambitions over the past week.
His rejection of the bid comes one day before Rome was to submit its candidature file to the IOC, which has a Feb 15 deadline.
Monti took office in December, charged with turning around the Italian economy from the crisis it faces due to its national debt. He is pushing forward reforms as well as spending cuts that apparently made it difficult for him to approve a bid for the Games at this time. Monti wanted Rome to postpone its bid until the race for the 2024 Games when Italy’s economic prospects might be brighter.
Bid organizers waged an intense lobbying campaign in the past week to sway the Prime Minister. Political leaders, sports personalities and arts figures formed a chorus of cries for Monti to give the bid his blessing.
Monti's failure to back Rome's Olympic ambitions for economic reasons appears to raise question marks about Madrid's candidacy for the 2020 Olympics amid Spain's debt-ridden economy.
Baku, Doha, Istanbul and Tokyo are also vying to secure the 2020 Games.
The bid teams from Doha and Tokyo submitted their applicant files to the IOC on Monday, with officials from Baku, and Madrid in Lausanne today to hand over their bid dossiers. Istanbul's bid leaders submit their applicant file Wednesday morning.
Reported by Mark Bisson and Ed Hula
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