Vatican in Olympic bid
ROME (AP) – Sailing in Sardinia. Boxing in Florence. Basketball in Milan. Water polo in Naples.
And how about badminton or archery in St Peter’s Square?
Italian Premier Matteo Renzi announced Monday that Rome will propose a cost-conscious bid to host the 2024 Olympics that will take advantage of IOC President Thomas Bach’s newly approved reforms allowing events to be held outside the host city.
The decision comes two years after Italy scrapped plans to bid for the 2020 Games because of financial concerns.
“The Italian government, together with CONI, is ready to do its part for a project that isn’t based on great infrastructures or big dreams but rather great people,” Premier Matteo Renzi said at Italian Olympic Committee headquarters. “We will be at the vanguard for all the spending controls.”
Italy, which hosted the 1960 Olympics, launched a bid for the 2020 Games but dropped out after then-premier Mario Monti refused to provide financial backing at a time of economic crisis.
The new bid comes with Italy’s economy still stagnant and amid a widening corruption scandal in Rome.
“Our country too often seems hesitant,” Renzi said. “It’s unacceptable not to try.”
Rome is considering a budget of 6 billion euros ($7.5 billion) – $2 billion of which would be covered by the IOC – or roughly half of what London spent in 2012.
“I don’t want to get into details but that’s a fairly realistic number,” CONI president Giovanni Malago said. “My dream is to have a bid supported with private money.”
Italy is the second country to declare its intention to bid. Germany has already announced that it will submit a bid from either Berlin or Hamburg, with the choice to be made in March.
France is likely to approve a Paris bid next year, and the U.S. Olympic Committee was also deciding whether to bid. Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington are vying to be the U.S. candidate.
Other possible contenders include Doha, Qatar; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Baku, Azerbaijan; Istanbul, Turkey; Budapest, Hungary; and a city or province in South Africa.
The 2024 host will be chosen by the International Olympic Committee in 2017. The deadline for submission of bids to the IOC is September 2015.