POSTED: July 11th 2016

Rome 2024: Malago meets with Deputy Mayor Frongia and CODACONS weighs in on the consequences of a possible referendum

The Giannattasio athletic stadium in Ostia was inaugurated © CONI
The Giannattasio athletic stadium in Ostia was inaugurated © CONI

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The Rome 2024 bid still has questions swirling around the new mayor's governmental support for the Eternal City to host the Games and now an environmental group raises a new point about public funding should there be a referendum. Rome has yet to get the green light that newly elected Mayor Virginia Raggi will attend the Rio 2016 Games in 25 days time. Raggi has just barely moved into her Rome municipal office but the clock is ticking on how she will react now that she is Mayor to the Rome 2024 candidature. 

She recently met with Pope Francis at the Vatican and went on Vatican Radio to express her concern for citizens getting stuck with big bills that can last for decades to extinguish. Raggi said that the last installment for the Italian FIFA World Cup of 1990 had recently been paid off last year and to saddle them with a new financial responsibilty would not be "ethical".

Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) President, Giovanni Malago, seems trusting that things will go forward however, Deputy Mayor Daniele Frongia of the 5-Star Movement (M5S), even though he is open to dialogue, still reaffirms that the position of the M5S political party has not changed.

At the inauguration of the athletic track at the Giannattasio Stadium at Ostia, Malago had a chance to meet briefly with the Undersecretary of State, Luca Lotti, and Rome Deputy Mayor Frongia, who is in charge of sport. Malago explained that this facility could be used to host the Olympics in 2024 should Rome get the nod, and is the first work that has been carried out with a government contribution.

Malago also added that he was pleased to hear that the city is open to discussion and that the "bid technically isn't the Bible; like everything, it can change."

Undersecretary Lotti also confirmed that the government will support all activities necessary to get the documents in order for the commitments that count fo rthe bid. 

However, today the CODACONS (Coordination of the associations for the defense of the environment and the rights of users and consumers in Italy) issued a statement raising a different issue about delegated funds.

They noted that before any referendum can be held on the Olympics in Rome, newly elected Mayor Raggi must revoke the resolutions of the previous administration that authorized the candidature of the capital for the 2024 Olympic Games. This was reiterated in a formal notice sent to Mayor Raggi and Deputy Mayor Frongia.

CODACONS President Carlo Rienzi added, "The City of Rome has issued a series of acts for the candidacy of the city for the Olympics of 2024, measures involving a series of activities and costs for the administration, for the community and for sports institutions.

"A possible referendum, in case Rome's candidacy was thrown out, would lead in fact to a waste of public resources used as a result of such acts, and this was contested by CODACONS before the TAR of Lazio (Regional Administrative Court of Lazio).

"Because of this, if the mayor wants to hold a referendum on the Olympics, she must immediately withdraw the resolutions relating to the candidacy of Rome 2024, so as to block the economic damage to the community."

"We must avoid that this happens like what happened for the Strait of Messina Bridge, where the government spends millions of Euro for a project that never saw the light of day," concluded Rienzi.

Rome is running against Paris, Budapest, and Los Angeles to host the 2024 summer Games. The IOC will vote on their final destination in September next year at the session in Lima, Peru.

**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 · Roma 2024

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