POSTED: August 9th 2015

Rome 2024: Malag├▓ has the total support of the government for this Olympic bid

(LtoR) Giovanni Malag├▓, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Rome 2024 President and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was front and center at the launch of the bid last December / Getty Images
(LtoR) Giovanni Malag├▓, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Rome 2024 President and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was front and center at the launch of the bid last December / Getty Images

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

Olympic Roundtable Part I

(SFC) Giovanni Malag├▓, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and Claudia Bugno, General Director of Rome 2024, met with international media in Kuala Lumpur during the IOC session to hold their first roundtable with the press about the Eternal City's bid. This is part I of the topics that were discussed to launch the 2024 Olympic campaign.

Malag├▓ was quick right from the start to give reassurances that this time the Italian government had given the bid its support squelching any fears from the last bid for 2020 when the government pulled the plug at the 11th hour.

He said, "I met Prime Minister Matteo Renzi Wednesday morning at Palazzo Chigi.

"We talked about Rome 2024 and you can see from the statement of Renzi he is totally enthusiastic about the bid and is pushing me to do our best. He asked me to send his regards to IOC President Thomas Bach, inviting him whenever it is possible to have another meeting. For me this is the confirmation that he is very positive and behind the bid."

The President of CONI was asked if this would be enough to carry the campaign to the finish line. He said, "I have the total support of the government and President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, invited me with a special invitation because he was so enthusiastic about the ranking of the Italian Team. We won the ranking at the world fencing championship in Moscow and he took the occasion to reconfirm his support for the bid.

"The President of the Republic, like Matteo Renzi, is very, very positive about the candidature.

"A few months ago there was an official visit of Thomas Bach with the President of the Republic too."

There has been some rumbling in the press that the bid would be spread out in a few other cities in Italy. However Malag├▓ explained that it would actually be very Rome centric.

He said, "We need and we want to be compact because we think this is a plus, at the same time we would like to involve as much as possible the most important cities in Italy for the football tournaments.

"We are thinking the temple of football as Milano at San Siro. At the same time I would like to remind you that this next year in 2016 the final of the Champion's League will be in San Siro. Also Torino, which is the ancient capital city of our country and hosted the Winter Olympic Games.

"We are thinking to involve the north east of Italy which is so important in economics, the region of Veneto, and of course some other choices could be Bologna and Firenze and of course the south of Italy Naples and Palermo. This is the short list for football.

"About sailing we have so many choices, starting from the Adriatico, if we go to Terreno which includes Liguria, Cinque Terre, Portifino and so on. Tuscany and the Gulf of Naples, during the 1960 Games Naples was the sailing venue and King Constantine of Greece won the gold medal there.  

"There are many, but last and not least there is Sardegna and the Costa Esmeralda, with Porto Cervo, the Maddalena and so on.

"I have already spoken to my friend who is the president of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF),  Carlo Croce, he is in charge of the Italian sailing federation too and he will carry out an evaluation commission to find the best choice. In a few months we will confirm one of these places.

Malag├▓ explains the plan to have three clusters in the city, "In Rome, we are thinking of three clusters, one of course the very popular but traditional area of Foro Italico that hosts tennis tournaments, swimming tournaments, the Olympic stadium and more. The historic area of Foro Italico is characterized by its unique Fascist architecture.

"The second cluster would be at the Fiera di Roma, which is very close to the Rome ring road with the Fiumicino airport nearby. We respect and are listening to the environmentalists and do not want to build new buildings and that area can be converted into some sports facilities.

"The third cluster is at the University of Tor Vergata, which is an area still under construction under the architecture of Santiago Calatrava. It is our desire to finish this project and it will be a palasport there at Tor Vergata.

"Of course there are some particular areas of the city, like the famous Piazza di Siena, which hosts the international equestrian competition and the Pratone del Vivaro, which hosted the 1960 eventing competition and is near the Castelli Romani in the south of Rome, which will host the equestrian competitions."

After the last bid being pulled at the last minute, Malag├▓ was asked if he felt like this 2024 race was starting off with a handicap after the last aborted attempt.

He said, "No absolutely I don't feel this, I feel a lot of enthusiasm and really appreciate what we are doing. We remember what happened with the 2020 bid and what happened in 1997 when we bid against Athens, but this is the competition, this is the world of the IOC. You win, you lose.

Rome will be bidding against Paris, Hamburg, Budapest and Malag├▓ was asked if he thought that the USA will definitely bid again after the fallout of Boston?

He said, "You will never hear anything from me that is negative about the other candidatures. I have very much respect for all of them from Budapest to an eventual candidature from the US. I think that before the 15th of September we will have a US competitor.

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · Rome 2024

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