There will be no sprint finish in Italy’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Prime Minister Mario Monti has pulled the plug on plans to bring the games to Rome, saying it could not be justified given the country’s current economic difficulties.
He said: “The government doesn’t consider it responsible, under Italy’s current conditions, to take on the commitment to offer the required (financial) guarantee. Considering the situation, we decided it wouldn’t be responsible to take the risk.”
It is a slap in the face for the mayor of the Eternal City, Gianni Alemanno, who sees Monti’s decision as an opportunity missed.
Alemanno said: “I respect Monti’s concerns, but I don’t understand them. We will now not only not invest in Rome’s future, but the whole country’s also. What are the government’s development plans? What do they want to invest in to push Italy ahead and not just keep the budget under control?”
Other Italian politicians share his view. Monti’s announcement came on the eve of a deadline requiring national governments to support candidate cities’ bids.
Rome had planned to use many of the same venues built for the 1960 Olympics if it had been awarded the 2020 Games. Now the facelift will have to wait.