Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome, is against the idea of the Rome Olympics in 2024 and believes that her city will not be ready to host the Olympics.
Mayor Raggi, who is new to the mayoral position, is against the Rome Olympics because she believes that hosting the Olympics will have a negative impact and add onto the already existing debt concerns. The mayor scrapped her city from the list of candidates to host the Olympics in 2024 after pointing out that previous cities that hosted the event suffered massive debts. She thus believes that it would not be a good idea to subject Rome to a similar fate. Raggi also posted the same views on social media.
“It would be irresponsible for us to support this candidacy.”
Raggi pointed out that the decision does not mean that the city is against the Olympics and any other sports in general. She further added that it is simply a matter of avoiding overwhelming costs in the years to come. The mayor’s statement was not an official announcement that the city will not be one of the candidates to host the event, though it is considered as one.
This is a huge blow to the International Olympic Committee which seems to be getting concerned that the Olympic events have started to lose their appeal. A few other countries have withdrawn their bids over the past few years, thus creating a sense of worry over the situation. If Rome has relinquished its bid for the 2024 Olympics, then the only candidates remaining are Budapest, Paris and Los Angeles.
The IOC is expected to announce the winning bid in September, 2017. Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, created an initiative whose aim was to lower the cost of hosting the event, but the initiative was not much of a success.
Brazil hosted the last Olympics this year in Rio De Janeiro, and the entire event is said to have cost $12 billion. Rome also pulled out of candidacy for the 2020 Olympics due to budget concerns. Tokyo won the bid for the 2020 Olympics.
The team that was responsible for Rome’s bid was infuriated by the fact that the mayor was against the idea of the Rome Olympics. The team claims that the decision was fueled by demagogic, political and ideological reasons. They also pointed out that not hosting the event would cost the city a chance to create almost 200,000 jobs and 1.7 billion in investments.
“We are disappointed that a new political force is unwilling to accept the challenge of modernization.”
The decision has created a negative image for Raggi, who has been the mayor for only a few months. However, she stands by the decision citing that it is best for the city. Opposition leaders in Rome have criticized Raggi for the decision to let go of the Olympic bid. Giovanni Malago the President of the Olympic Committee in Italy told Raggi not to talk about things she does not know of as he urged her not to present the motion to the city assembly. The two politicians were supposed to meet on Wednesday at the city hall, but Raggi was late for the meeting. By the time she showed up, Malago had already left.
Rome has been plagued with claims of corruption amongst its politicians, businessmen, and bureaucrats since 2014. This has caused doubts about the city’s ability to tackle any tasks associated with the Olympics.
The situation has caused a lot of controversy and speculation on the future of the Olympics if such concerns pop up from other countries. The new Rome Mayor’s decision against the Olympic bid highlights some of the problems that the IOC is currently facing.
[Featured Image by Andrew Medichini/AP Images]