Rome pulls from 2020 Olympic bid amid economic uncertainty

Rome has pulled out of the race to host the 2020 Olympics due to lack of financial backing from the government, boosting Tokyo's hopes of staging the Games in the process.

Rome had been viewed as one of the favorites in the 2020 race, which also includes Doha, Madrid, Istanbul and Baku. But Italian premier Mario Monti said yesterday the government could not secure the necessary financial support during the economic crisis.

The IOC will select the host city in 2013.
Rome had estimated a cost of around 9.8 billion euros to host the Games.

But Monti said, "We arrived at this unanimous conclusion that the government didn't feel it was responsible to assume such a guarantee in Italy's current condition."

"We studied the plans with great care," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

"Italy can and must have ambitious goals. Our government is focused also on its growth, not just on strictness, but at this time we don't think it would be fitting to commit Italy to this type of guarantee, which could put at risk taxpayers' money."

Italy's financial woes put paid to the country's hopes of hosting the Summer Olympics for
the first time since Rome in 1960.

Gianni Petrucci, president of national Olympic body CONI, recognized the need for cuts, but had hoped there would still be room for the Games.

"Monti has told us no, it's a great sadness," Petrucci was quoted as saying by AP. "It's a dream that has vanished after two years of hard work.

The bid was a serious one. You need to cut and think about investments, and the Olympics are a future investment."

"We spent hours talking, but (Monti) was unshakable on the subject of the accounts linked to the general economic situation," bid chairman and IOC Vice President Mario Pescante said. "We have to resign ourselves to the fact that for at least 10 more years, we won't talk anymore about having the games in Italy."

The decision came a day before the deadline for formal submission of bid files to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC requires government financial guarantees from bid cities.

Tokyo and Doha submitted their bids on Monday.(Kyodo) HKR 02151301

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