There is “no possibility” Rome 2024 will withdraw its candidacy if bid opponent Virginia Raggi is elected as the city’s Mayor, director general Diana Bianchedi told insidethegames here today.
Bianchedi, a double Olympic fencing gold medallist, conceded, however, that a victory for pro-bid Democratic Party candidate Roberto Giachetti would be “easiest” for Rome 2024.
It comes amid continued debate regarding the Mayoral Election and its consequences for Rome’s attempt at securing the hosting rights for the Games for the first time since 1960, with Five Star Movement politician and favourite Raggi warning she will not support it if she is elected.
Conflicting statements have emanated from both sides as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi claimed yesterday that they could end their candidature should Raggi be chosen ahead of Giachetti.
Rome 2024 were also yesterday forced to clarify quotes made by Bid Committee President Luca Di Montezemolo to Italian publication Corriere della Sera in which he appeared to suggest he would pull the plug if Raggi wins the election on June 19.
Five Star Movement politician Alessandro Di Battista recently said his party would “not interrupt” the bid if they take office, contradicting the claims made by Raggi.
He did also state, however, that “in running the capital, the ordinary will come first and then the extraordinary”, suggesting other issues in the city would be given precedence over the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid.
Senator Raffaele Ranucci has fuelled the fire further by urging residents who support the bid to vote for Giachetti.
Giovanni Malagò, the head of Italian Olympic Committee, has also weighed into the debate, insisting the capital’s bid would proceed even if the Five Star Movement candidate emerges victorious.
Raggi, who won the largest share of votes earlier this week ahead of the run-off with Giachetti, reaffirmed her opposition towards the bid following a meeting with Malagò last month.
Tension has been evident between the CONI head and Mayoral candidate, however, after she described bidding for the Games amid a difficult economic climate in Rome as “criminal”.
Bianchedi, who won team foil gold at Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000, claims Raggi has told Rome 2024 she has “no prejudice” against the bid for the Games.
The 46-year-old rubbished suggestions that a victory for Raggi would spell the end for Rome 2024, which is bidding for the Olympics and Paralympics in eight years’ time along with Budapest, Paris and Los Angeles.
“There is no possibility of this,” Bianchedi told insidethegames at the UNIRETE conference, where the bid team are lobbying businesses and entrepreneurs from around Italy.
"I am sure that her steps [if she wins] would be very good for our bid.
“We don’t want to say vote Raggi or vote Giachetti.
“When I see Giachetti is in the same party as the Prime Minister I say yes, it’s easiest.
“The President of the republic says yes, the Prime Minister says yes, and the new Mayor just has to ask themselves why they have said that.”
Bianchedi refused to accept the Mayoral Election itself represented a big day for Rome 2024 despite the potential implications if the vote goes the way of Raggi.
The former fencer also admitted she felt frustrated that a lot of talk in the capital is about who will be the new Mayor rather than about their bid for the Games, describing it as a "lot of noise".
The International Olympic Committee will elect its chosen host at its Session in Lima in September 2017.