Olympics: Italy's Games chief says no more bids likely for 20 years

Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:02pm EDT
 
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CAGLIARI, Sardinia (Reuters) - Italy are unlikely to put forward another bid to host the Olympics for 20 years after Rome's mayor pulled the plug on the city's plans to host the 2024 Games, Italian Olympic committee chief Giovanni Malago said on Friday.

"Anything can happen but it seems to me improbable that there can be another Italian candidacy for the Olympics for the next 20 years," Malago told reporters in the Sardinian capital Cagliari.

Rome's new mayor, Virginia Raggi, said on Wednesday that the city has more pressing ways to spend money and that staging the Games would bury the Italian capital under mountains of debt and tonnes of cement.

"This (bidding to host the Olympics) is like a three-legged table -- the city, the government and CONI (Italy's national Olympic committee)," Malago said after a CONI meeting.

"Without one leg the candidacy loses strength. We have accepted this situation while at the same time understanding that it is a loss of international prestige," he said.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had championed Rome's bid, but he needed the backing of the city council to press ahead. Raggi's decision means only Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest are left in the running to stage the 2024 Games.

Malago said CONI was not planning to sue the Rome government to get back the 13 million euros ($14.59 million) spent by the bidding committee to promote their candidature.

He added that if anyone raised any questions about how or why the money was spent, he would refer them to the Rome government.

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Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malago speaks during the unveiling ceremony of the official logo for the 2024 Olympic bid in Rome, Italy, December 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Max Rossi