Rome to withdraw bid to host 2024 Olympic Games

Rome is set to end its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games after the city’s new mayor, Virginia Raggi, elected to withdraw the capital’s backing.

That will leave Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest as the three remaining hopefuls, vying to host the event.

The decision, to be announced formally by city hall on Wednesday afternoon, effectively sinks any hope Rome had of landing the games.

Raggi and her anti-establishment 5-Star Movement won control of Rome in June, and always questioned the viability of holding such an event, believing the city could not afford to finance the investment needed to stage the spectacular, given its current debt level.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the bid team had hoped to change her mind, while Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago has said that the bid would fail without backing from city council.

But Raggi has long stated that other priorities are more important, despite not definitively saying no during the electoral campaign. In one election debate, she said she would call a popular referendum on whether to continue with the bid.

However, amid revelations of systematic corruption involving Roman politicians and bureaucrats in 2014, and having seen a bid to host the 2020 games withdraw by then-Prime Minister Mario Monti due to concerns over Italy’s finances, Raggi had always been set to declare there would be no backing.

The International Olympic Committee is due to select the host city in September 2017.

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