Rome ‘to withdraw bid’ to host 2024 Olympics

Raggi had been due to meet with Giovanni Malagò, president of Italy’s Olympic Committee (Coni), but failed to turn up for the discussion, Italian media reported on Wednesday. Their talk had been due to be streamed live to the Italian public, for “maximum transparency” which Malago said had always characterized Coni’s work.

“I haven’t seen Raggi. We waited, we waited but no-one turned up,” Malagò told waiting media. “Now we’re going, because a 35-minute wait is too much.”

Before the meeting, several reports had emerged that Raggi planned to withdraw the bid, following months of criticisms from both the mayor herself and her party, Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement. A city hall official confirmed Raggi’s intention to reject the bid on Wednesday morning, Reuters reported.

Malago said last week the committee would abandon its bid to have Rome host the Games should it not get the mayor’s backing.

However, when leaving the government building on Wednesday, he did not confirm the news, saying “in life we must always hope,” La Repubblica reported.

The mayor, who took office in June, had been seen by most pundits as simply waiting for the end of the Paralympics in Rio to announce that City Hall will not be supporting the bid, which would scupper its chances of success. .

Raggi had continually repeated in her election campaign that the Games were not a priority for the Eternal City, a stance shared by the leader of the Five Star Movement, Beppe Grillo. Raggi made it clear she does not regard the Olympic bid a good idea for the cash-strapped city, but stopped short of saying she will not back it and had previously suggested holding a referendum to decide whether to host the games.

Prime Minister Renzi has deplored the party’s stand, and dismissed their contention that the money use to host the Games could be better spent.

Rome, which last hosted the Olympics in 1960, had been one of four candidates to host the Olympics in 2024 along with Paris, Budapest and Los Angeles. The quartet must submit the second part of their candidacy by October 7th.