POSTED: July 2nd 2016

Raggi: The Olympics? We just finished paying for the '90 FIFA World Cup

Pope Francis greets Mayor Virginia Raggi and her entourage © Vatican Radio
Pope Francis greets Mayor Virginia Raggi and her entourage © Vatican Radio

CONI's maestoso Casa Italia at Rio 2016 © CONI
CONI's maestoso Casa Italia at Rio 2016 © CONI

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The newly elected Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, raised serious doubts about the Eternal City's Olympic candidature speaking out on all places: the Vatican Radio. Rome is bidding against Budapest, Paris and Los Angeles to host the 2024 summer Games.

Raggi had her very first audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican after becoming the 1st citizen of Rome and afterwards noted in an interview on the official voice of the Vatican that the city had only just "finished to pay the annual installments of 92 million Euros for the Italian '90 FIFA World Cup" this past year.

The Mayor said, "Do the math and see how much these events weigh heavily on the people' shoulders. No one wants to take Rome to levels that aren't competitive with other European cities, God forbid, but at this time when we have a debt of 13 billion Euros only on extraordinary management, I believe that asking the people to go into debt for at least another 20, 30, or 40 years is unethical, it is not right." 

"The Romans, up to now and during the electoral campaign, never spoke to me about the Olympics. If the Romans were to ask me for a referendum we will obviously evaluate holding one, underlining all the pros and cons, and the costs. "

Pope Francis met with Raggi, including her six year old son Matteo together with her parents and staff, for half an hour and one of the main topics of conversation was about tackling a number of basic services for the city namely traffic congestion, waste management, a lack of social housing, and recent corruption scandals.

On the other hand, CONI President Giovanni Malago who is extremely invested in the Rome bid, has reached out to Mayor Raggi to join the Italian envoy and come to the Rio 2016 summer Olympic Games and see in person the effect of the Olympics. Italy will also be hosting their signature hospitality house "Casa Italia" which is a hit at every Olympic Games allowing everyone to have a taste of Italian hospitality at its finest. The venue that CONI has chosen is stunning perched on a rock overlooking the sea with a pool and plenty of areas to relax from the hectic days of Olympic competitions and networking.  

The ball is in her court to decide the next step for the fate of Roma 2024.

**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 · Rio 2016 · Virginia Raggi · CONI

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