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Rome”s 2024 Olympics bid formally ended by Italian Olympic Committee

The competition to host the 2024 Olympics narrowed to Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest on Tuesday, after Rome’s bid to organize the event was formally…

The competition to host the 2024 Olympics narrowed to Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest on Tuesday, after Rome’s bid to organize the event was formally withdrawn by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).

"I wrote this morning the letter to the [International Olympic Committee] with which we interrupt the candidature process of Rome 2024," CONI President Giovanni Malago said in a press conference in Rome.

The widely expected move came two weeks after Rome’s city council, controlled by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), withdrew its backing for the bid, because of cost and potential corruption concerns.

"This is the saddest day of my presidency," said Malago, who has been in office since 2013.

Mayor Virginia Raggi said last month that her administration was against hosting the Olympics because it was too much of a financial burden for the debt-ridden city.

"Olympic Games are a dream which at a certain point turn into a nightmare," she said.

The city council had originally sponsored the idea in 2015, but under a different administration led by the Democratic Party of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, which was badly defeated by Raggi’s M5S in June.

"We have taken note of the decision by Rome 2024 and will further explore with the Candidature Committee what this means," an IOC spokesperson said in an emailed 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 statement added.

Malago renewed his criticism of the M5S, saying it ‘no’ stance was influenced by "ideology and demagoguery." He said the Italian capital had lost an opportunity to create many jobs and upgrade its infrastructure.

In an apparent snub to Rome, he also said CONI was offering to host the annual IOC Session in 2019 in Milan, Italy’s second-largest city.

On Monday, the CONI president claimed in an interview with RAI state radio that until its local authorities sabotaged its bid, Rome was best placed to be picked as host city in 2024.

"Diplomatically, I used to say that we had a 25-per-cent chance, but the candidacy was very strong, Rome had all the rights cards to win," he said.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to make a choice between the remaining candidate cities in September 2017.

Rome is not the first city to exit the race. Germany’s Hamburg had also filed a bid, but it was blocked in a referendum last year. In September 2015, Los Angeles stepped in for Boston which lacked public, political and financial support. (DPA)

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