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Rome votes in favour of 2024 bid

2015-06-26 13:01
Olympics (File)

Rome - Rome's city council voted 38-6 in favour of the capital's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics on Thursday - a strong showing amid a widening corruption scandal.

"Like it was for Barcelona and London, the Rome 2024 Olympics will leave a renewed, modern and sustainable identity for our city," Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said in City Hall, where a flag from the 1960 Games hosted by Rome was on display.

"This is a vote that looks to the future and an opportunity to think about the city for the next generation," Marino added.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago and bid leader Luca Cordero di Montezemolo campaigned for the candidacy at City Hall earlier this week.

"Today sport prevailed over politics," Malago said.

"Today's achievement is just the first step in a long journey which will continue over the next two years and which we must make together, in unity. This is the only way to achieve our goals."

Votes against the bid came from the opposition 5-Star Movement, which has been against the candidacy since it was announced by Italian Premier Matteo Renzi in December.

The vote comes two days after Paris announced its candidacy for the games. The other declared bidders are Boston and Hamburg, with Budapest also expected to join the contest.

The IOC will select the host city in 2017.

Three years ago, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped Rome's plans to bid for the 2020 Games because of financial concerns. The new bid comes with Italy's economy still stagnant and with new revelations surfacing in a scandal that has been labeled "Mafia Capital."

Phone conversations intercepted by police and published in the media have described how local criminal bosses managed to cement ties with city politicians over lucrative public contracts.

Dozens have been arrested.

"With Mafia Capital in full swing and in a city with Mafia infiltrations, spiraling budgets and services inadequate for its citizens, putting forward the Rome bid seems absurd to us," Marcello De Vito of the 5-Star Movement said.

The Rome bid is expected to include many of the venues used for the 1960 Games - notably the Foro Italico complex that includes an athletics and football stadium, plus swimming, diving and tennis facilities.

Rome is considering a budget of $6.7 billion - $2 billion of which would be covered by the IOC - or roughly half of what London spent in 2012.

"Together, beginning with this vote, we'll learn to win this challenge and bring this event to Rome with the goal of transforming the city, curing old urban wounds and making our beautiful capital more livable, welcoming and modern," Marino said.

Read more on:    olympics 2024

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