Rome withdraws bid for 2024 Olympics: mayor
Updated: 2016-09-22 09:14
Rome's new mayor Virginia Raggi holds a document during a news conference in Rome Italy, September 21, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
ROME -- Rome mayor Virginia Raggi on Wednesday announced the Italian capital was withdrawing its bid to host the 2024 Olympic games.
The decision was mainly based on financial and corruption risk concerns.
The investments and costs needed to successfully host such a big event would be too high for the debt-ridden city, according to Raggi.
"Saying yes to this candidacy would be irresponsible. Around one billion euros ($1.12 billion) of Rome's current debts still derives from the 1960 Olympics," she told a press conference.
Anti-establishment Five Star Movement's (M5S) Raggi was elected mayor in June on a platform that openly opposed the bid for the Olympics.
The city had already formed a committee to support its candidacy, after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in December 2014 had announced the city would run for the 2024 Olympic Games.
Yet, Raggi seemed to have the support of many citizens of Rome, and in the mayoral runoff against ruling center-left Democratic Party (PD) candidate Roberto Giachetti, who was in favor of hosting the Olympics, she scored a landslide victory.
"We have not changed our minds, and we do not want to put Rome's future at stake," the mayor explained.
"(Hosting) these Olympics would mean making more debt, and we do not forget the money required belongs to the Roman citizens."
Raggi specified neither she, nor the M5S, had anything against sports or the Olympics.
"Sport is an integral part of our political program, but we do not want it to be a pretext for the city to be engulfed again by concrete."