Italian prime minister Mario Monti. (Getty Images)
(ATR) After doubts about Rome 2020 are raised by the new government of Italy, top sport officials and politicians urge Prime Minister Mario Monti to give the go-ahead to the Olympic bid.
A front page story Monday in the leading daily Corriere della Sera said that Monti is even considering pushing the bid back to 2024 as a result of Italy’s economic woes.
“Mario Monti, despite being well aware of how important this chance is for Italy, looks more concerned with the problems that Rome 2020 brings along,” the article read.
“So much so that a new solution cannot be excluded: not a step backwards, but a shift in time of the target. Bidding for the Olympic Games of 2024. A date that would be close to the 2025 Jubilee, which could bring a more consistent economic impact,” said the newspaper.
Gianni Petrucci, the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) said he was “greatly surprised” to hear about the government concerns. He says the bid is based on a “real chance that Rome, or better, Italy, will win the Games,” he was quoted as saying in an interview to Corriere della Sera.
Petrucci also said that it would be more difficult to bid for the Games in 2024 when France, South Africa and the United States are also planning to compete. “The unique and unrepeatable opportunity is the one of 2020. For this, I cannot believe that Monti would say no.”
CONI is pitching a return to Rome exactly 60 years after its last Summer Games. (Getty Images)
Bid cities are expected deliver pledges of government support from their governments to
be included with the applicant files they must submit to the IOC by Feb. 15.
Monti is now being urged by political and business leaders to sign the letter of support needed for the applicant file. Rome 2020 spookesman Pino Buongiorno tells Around the Rings
that Monti is expected to sign within the next few days.
Earlier this month, Rome 2020 promoters presented a report highlighting the positive economic impact of the Games on the Italian economy, including the creation of thousands of new
jobs in the run-up to the event.
CONI president Gianni Petrucci. (ATR)
Franco Carraro, Italy’s senior IOC member and coordinator of the Commission for Economic Compatibility for Rome 2020, said that Monti is reading the full dossier on the candidacy and that the green light will be given “only when it will be certain that a “yes” will not be interpreted by rating agencies and by the international financial world as being in contradiction with the austerity laws that the government has put into place.”
Italy’s credit was recently downgraded to BBB+ by one rating agency, amid a deepening economic crisis that is hitting European countries.
In his comments published on the official website of the Rome 2020 bid, Carraro also said that the majority of Italians are overwhelming in favor of hosting the 2020 Games.
Other cities in the race for 2020 include: Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo.
Written by Marta Falconi.
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