ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti withdrew Rome as a candidate to host the 2020 Olympic Games, describing a planned bid as “irresponsible”.
Just a day before the deadline for submitting host city bids to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Italian leader decided the current economic crisis would make such a financial commitment untenable.
“After a difficult evaluation we’ve arrived at the unanimous conclusion that the government believes it would not be responsible in the current conditions in Italy to take on these guarantees,” said Monti in a press conference.
“We don’t feel capable of taking on a financial commitment that could burden the Italian finances over the coming years. In another moment of history we could have carried the risk, but not now.”
The contenders for the 2020 Games are now Madrid, Baku, Doha, Istanbul and Tokyo.
Whilst Spain too is embroiled in a severe financial crisis, Alejandro Blanco, the head of their National Olympic Committee, told AFP they would not be following in Rome’s wake.
“The withdrawal of Rome changes nothing for our candidacy,” said Blanco by phone.
“It is not the time to be talking about that.”
The government took the decision even though only nine of the 42 sites required to host the Games would have needed to be built from scratch, the others solely needing to be renovated.