POSTED: August 9th 2015
InDepth

Rome 2024: The Colosseum will have a role, but no referendum and no Vatican venues in this Olympic bid

(Center) Giovanni Malag├▓, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and (Center left) Claudia Bugno, General Director of Rome 2024, met the press for the first roundtable for the Eternal City bid / SFC
(Center) Giovanni Malag├▓, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and (Center left) Claudia Bugno, General Director of Rome 2024, met the press for the first roundtable for the Eternal City bid / SFC

The iconic Roman Colosseum is famous the world over / Bigstock
The iconic Roman Colosseum is famous the world over / Bigstock

The interior of the Colosseum and the underground stalls and tunnels / Bigstock
The interior of the Colosseum and the underground stalls and tunnels / Bigstock

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

Olympic Roundtable Part II

(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 II of the topics that were discussed to launch the 2024 bid.

There has been talk that the Olympic Village might be at Tor Vergata near the University of Rome. Malag├▓ explained his personal feelings on the location, "Claudia suggests that we keep something secret, but that is my personal choice. It's not my job, I have another role, for me I am a Roman citizen and there are some subjective opinions about where to put the Village but if it was left up to me I would put it there at Tor Vergata. But I must respect the other people involved with this matter.

Rome Mayor, Ignazio Marino, has declared that he would like to use the iconic Colosseum to host the medal ceremonies reactivating the elevator there to lift the athletes up into it.

Malag├▓ added, "I think that the Colosseum and the area of the Italian Forum now doesn't allow cars or motorbikes nearby but it will be a protagonist of our bid.

"But the role of the Colosseum I think will be clarified in one of the press conferences after the 15th of September.

Probably the Italian Ministero dei beni e delle attivita culturale e del turismo, the cultural patrimony ministry, will weigh in on the exposure and use of any and all of the ancient monuments in order to protect them. 

Italy has a plethora of world class athletes, Malag├▓ explained, "I know that Alberto Tomba and Sara Simeoni were voted the athletes of the century. Last year 2014 was the centenary of the foundation of CONI and they were chosen. They may be involved and it might be announced after September 15th.

There have been talks with the Vatican to possibly use some of the areas there for sports events. However Malag├▓ shot that idea down, "I think this is not correct to include the Vatican in our bid, it is a great place for tourism, but we want to have as co-protagonist all the religions. For example the marathon of Rome has a particular choice that it passes very close to the new Mosque in Aqua Acetosa. Aqua Acetosa was built in 1960 for Olympic preparation and is in the north of the city close to Foro Italico. Then it passes by the Vatican then the Ghetto, the Jewish Synagogue, the most ancient in Europe.

"So Islam, Jewish, Catholic religions will be co-protagonists," he defined.

Actually Rome has set itself up with a marginal budget, and Malag├▓ clarified, "The budget of the bid will be less than $10 million, I don't know if you know, we made a choice in the past, that the Rome 2024 Bid committee is in house of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI). They have their headquarters in the area of Foro Italico, we rent them space without expenses, we support with administration, with marketing, with facilities, and with services. One of my secretaries is working there. This is what we like to make known for public opinion.

"Part of it [funding] is from private sponsors that are already sponsors of the Italian Olympic Committee," he noted.

Claudia Bugno explained, "Public money is coming from CONI and for the private money, the bid president Mr. Montezemolo is working with Mr. Malago, to build a new foundation association.

Malag├▓ added, "We are looking for opportunities for new sponsors for this specific kind of project.

He also confirmed that he, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and Luca Pancalli all are working as volunteers for the bid with no salary.

And finally the touchy subject if Rome would hold a public referendum about public support. Malag├▓ was very clear that they had no intentions of having one, "No, but since the beginning this was my and our answer. Every country and every city has different traditions. It doesn't mean that we won't involve public opinion, there are other instruments to verify what is the opinion of the citizens of Rome.  At the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 you will have some answers from the people.

"I am very positive about the people's support and everything depends on how we explain to them what we would like to do. After the presentation of the bid on the 15th of September it is very important exactly who and how we present the bid to the people of Rome," he ended on that note. 

The final vote on the city that will host the 2024 summer Games will take place at the IOC session in Lima, Peru in 2017.

**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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