16 February 2012
The Italian Prime Minister has refused to sign off Rome's bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games on economic grounds. His decision came on the eve of the formal submission of bids to the International Olympic Committee.
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Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who is running a tight austerity campaign in order to battle the Eurozone debt crisis, made the shock announcement after a cabinet meeting. He said it would be an irresponsible use of taxpayers' money to guarantee the funding of Rome's Olympic bid for 2020.
The cost of hosting the games had been estimated at over $12 billion. The head of Italy's Olympic Committee, Gianni Petrucci, said that a dream had vanished after two years of hard work. The Olympic Games were last held in Rome in 1960 and the committee was proposing to refurbish many of the sports facilities built at that time for the new games.
Now, Mr Monti's decision means that for another decade there will be no more talk of holding the games in Italy. But the prime minister's refusal to guarantee the funding of another Rome Olympics is likely to be welcomed on international financial markets as proof of his seriousness in tackling Italy's Euro debt crisis.
The debts incurred by holding the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 have been blamed for contributing to Greece's current economic disaster. Rome's withdrawal from the 2020 Olympic bid leaves four cities in the running for hosting the games: Doha, Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo.
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- cabinet meeting
gathering of the body which controls government policy
renovate or decorate