By David Owen

Mario Monti_close_up_profileFebruary 14 - Rome is pulling out of the race for the 2020 Olympics, according to an Italian press report.

According to the report, in the respected Corriere della Sera, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti took the decision after careful evaluation of the costs and benefits involved.

Monti is now expected to meet Mario Pescante, President of the Organising Committee and grand old man of the Olympic Movement in Italy, to formalise the decision.

Bidders must lodge required guarantees with the International Olympic Committee by February 15.

The decision is likely to be greeted with regret by Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, both because it cuts the field to five applicants and, on a more personal level, because he knows the city well owing to his time with the European Olympic Committees.

Rome's decision will leave a field consisting of Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo.

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