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  • Berlusconi Promises Support for Rome Olympic Bid


    Berlusconi: “I can assure you that the government will do its best".(Getty Images)
    (ATR) Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says the Rome bid for the 2020 Olympics will have the full support of the government.

    Berlusconi spoke Wednesday at the ceremony marking the launch of the organizing committee for the Rome bid.

    “I can assure you that the government will do its best to support Rome’s bid to the 2020 Olympic Games,” Berlusconi said.

    “We will do everything possible to make this challenge become the start of a real development phase for the whole country.”

    IOC vice president Mario Pescante was officially confirmed as chairman of the bid at the ceremony. The formation of the committee was formally announced during a two-day "state of the city" program, attended by top Italian politicians .

    "We showed that when we are under pressure we can make things work, but we will need to be united," Pescante told the assembly."We will have to overcome many problems, but the financial compatibility report that we will give to the parliament will be an important step."

    The former head of CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, Pescante, 72, told Around the Rings in an exclusive interview that the Italian capital will fight hard, bringing along a legacy of history and a good infrastructure already in place. He also said a group of experts will work on an evaluation report of costs and necessary funds to be presented to Italy’s lawmakers.

    Pescante, who was appointed IOC Permanent Observer at the United Nations last year and holds the post of chairman of the International Relations Commission, is also a deputy in the Italian Parliament. He has served as an IOC member since 1994 and was elected to a four-year term as a vice president in 2009.

    A wealth of Italian personalities was also named to assist Pescante in the effort to win the Games.

    Letta, a highly connected senior counselor in the Italian government, was elected honorary president of the bid, while Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno and the head of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) Gianni Petrucci were chosen as vice presidents, along with a third person who will be appointed by the Italian opposition. Montezemolo and Alessandri are joined by entrepeneuers Luigi Abete, John Elkann, Cesare Geronzi and Emma Marcegaglia, among others, as honorary members of the bid committee.

    Rome, which hosted the 1960 Olympics, lost to Athens in bidding for the 2004 Games.

    The race for the 2020 Olympics begins in May when the IOC opens applications to bid. The IOC vote for 2020 takes place in September 2013. Bids from South Africa, the Middle East, Japan and Europe are also expected for the 2020 Games.

    With reporting by Marta Falconi.

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