Rome mayor to withdraw backing for 2024 Olympic bid: city hall official

Rome had also bid to host the 2020 Games, but then-prime minister Mario Monti withdrew due to concerns over Italy's finances.

Rome became the latest major global city to reject efforts to host the Olympic Games when Mayor Virginia Raggi said Wednesday she is opposing the city's bid for the 2024 Games.

In an emphatic speech in front of bid supporters, opposition and media in Rome on Wednesday, Raggi was unequivocal.

Raggi, who was elected in June representing the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, has maintained that an Olympic bid is unsustainable for a city struggling to emerge from years of corruption and poor public services.

As the first female Mayor of the Eternal City, she is determined to get Rome's house in order.

"Unlike others, I know what I'm talking about when talking about the Olympics".

The IOC requires bidders to have support from the government and city.

Speculation has been rife about the future of the Rome bid since Raggi took office after an election in May.

Previous mayor Ignazio Marino endorsed the 2024 bid which got a big majority in the assembly past year.

Rome 2024 President Luca Di Montezemolo claimed that 70 per cent of the facilities required to host the Games were already in place. And Premier Matteo Renzi has been a big fan of the candidacy since he helped launch it in 2014.

Malagò claimed this week that the country risked a loss of credibility and "looking like a fool" if Rome did abandon its bid, with ANSA reporting that he has pledged to "go on" before a "formal act" by Raggi dooms the bid.

A budget of 24 million euros has already been allotted to the bid committee, much of which has been spent.

Rome is set to confirm that it is pulling out of the race to host the Olympics in 2024.

A withdrawal for financial reasons can be considered as a blow for the IOC's Agenda 2020 reforms, which sought to promote more cost-effective ways for cities to bid.

The bid had been slated to be centered around Rome's historic monuments: a cycling sprint alongside the Roman Forum, beach volleyball at the Circus Maximus and the marathon passing through St. Peter's Square and finishing under the Arch of Constantine.

It envisioned spending €2.1 billion (£1.6 billion/$2.3 billion) on permanent structures, principally the Olympic Village and the press centre, and €3.2 billion (£2.5 billion/$3.6 billion) on temporary facilities, running costs and management.

A withdrawal would be another clear signal that the International Olympic Committee still has a lot of work to do to convince cities that hosting the games is a boon and not a burden.

Today's news marks the second time one of the five original 2024 contenders has withdrawn after Hamburg's bid was axed following a referendum defeat.

Los Angeles stepped in for Boston which lacked political and financial support. "It's like we started a race and someone gets out of the pool in the middle of the race and says we're not racing any longer".

  • Julie Sanders