A decision on whether Rome should press ahead with its bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be made in October, the Italian capital's Mayor Virginia Raggi has claimed.
Raggi has been a leading critic of Rome’s attempts at bringing the Games to the city for the first time in 64 years both during the build-up to last month’s Mayoral elections and has continued with her stance since she was chosen for the role.
Her constant opposition has threatened the future of the campaign and the fact that she is also considering whether to hold a referendum will cause concern among organisers and supporters.
This would be a major risk considering almost all Olympic bid referendums have proved unsuccessful, including one in Hamburg last year which prompted the German city's withdrawal from the 2024 race.
Raggi told Italian newspaper Metro that she “wouldn’t hesitate” to call for a public vote if the city’s residents asked for one.
Rome 2024 held a meeting of its Working Group today, during which it was decided to bring a key presentation on their bid to Raggi forward from October to July following the comments from the Mayor.
"Rome's Bid Committee will have to submit the Questionnaire, which is shared with the City Council, by October 7th, a key requirement for participating in stage two of the bid," a Rome 2024 statement read.
The 37-year-old lawyer and 5-Star Movement politician says she will hold talks with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, a keen supporter of the bid, who has frequently urged Raggi to withdraw her opposition, “straight after the summer”.
It is thought Rome 2024 will be high on the agenda, with discussions also likely to focus on the renegotiation of the city's debt.
"Today - she continued - we presented the overall progress to allow the new administration to thoroughly assess all aspects of the dossier," Rome 2024 director general Diana Bianchedi said.
"There was a great appreciation on the papers presented”.
Raggi, who has claimed that Rome has only just finished paying for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, again reiterated her view that she will look to solve core problems in the city such as potholes and transport before “evaluating the extraordinary”.
“October is a good month for drawing conclusions,” Raggi said in an interview with Metro.
“We have never precluded dialogue … but for now our position remains unchanged: first we will attend to potholes, waste, transport, then we will evaluate the extraordinary.”
Rome 2024 remain hopeful their bid could retain the support of the new city authorities following a meeting earlier this month.
A delegation including bid vice-president Luca Pancalli and Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malagò met with the city's Deputy Mayor Daniel Frongia, who has special responsibility for sport, as well as Rome's 5-Star Movement leader Paolo Ferrara.
Frongia claimed afterwards that the city was “open to dialogue”.
Budapest, Paris and Los Angeles are also bidding for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee is due elect its chosen host at its Session in Lima in September 2017.