Italian football rivals AS Roma and Lazio have come together ahead of this weekend’s Rome derby to show their support for the capital’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
As part of a Rome 2024 road show, Bid Committee general coordinator Diana Bianchedi met with Roma captain Francesco Totti, team-mates Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi and coach Luciano Spalletti at the club’s technical centre in Trigoria.
Special football kits with the Roma 2024 logo were delivered to the club and Bianchedi received a shirt with the number 2024.
"The path is traced: the history of our muscles, the Eternal City’s run, the goal of the Olympics," said Spalletti.
“We want Roma 2024.”
Bianchedi then met with Lazio’s Antonio Candreva, team-mates Marco Parolo and Danilo Cataldi, and coach Stefano Pioli, at the club’s training centre in Formello, where a similar shirt exchange took place.
"As a sportsman, I hope that Roma will win the chance to host the Olympic Games," said Pioli.
"It can be a great opportunity not only for the city but for the entire country.
"It would be an honour to host an important event like the Olympic Games.
"I truly hope that Rome will achieve this extraordinary milestone."
The Bid Committee’s road show aims to involve the Serie A and Serie B football clubs of the 11 host cities chosen for the 2024 Olympic football tournament if Rome is successful in its efforts.
The San Siro in Milan would stage matches, along with the Juventus Stadium, where last season's Serie A champions play their home games.
Also proposed is Stadio San Paolo, home of Napoli, the club where Argentina's Diego Maradona enjoyed the best years of his career.
The two finals would be staged at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Other venues chosen are the Bentegodi Stadium in Verona, Friuli Stadium in Udine, Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa, Renato Dall'Ara Stadium in Bologna, Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence, San Nicola Stadium in Bari and Renzo Barbera Stadium in Palermo.
"Today was an important day for us," said Bianchedi.
"Roma and Lazio’s opening signal in this delicate week before they will play the derby proves the great attention and closeness of the two clubs to our bid."
Supporters of Roma and Lazio, who are fierce rivals, say they will boycott tomorrow’s Rome derby in protest over increased security measures at the shared Stadio Olimpico.
Both groups of fans are angry because the civil defence service has ordered the areas behind the goal to be divided by concrete barriers.
Rome are competing with Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris for the 2024 hosting rights.
The International Olympic Committee is due to make a decision at its Session in Lima in 2017.