Rome to bid for 2024 Olympics

Bid could also involve Vatican

Italy is bidding to host the 2024 Olympics following an announcement by Italian premier Matteo Renzi at the headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome on 15 December.

Rome considered hosting the 2020 Olympics but the idea was dropped in February 2012 by then-premier Mario Monti who said that Italy could not afford to host the games due to its economic situation. The proposal to bid for the 2024 games was first mooted by Monti's successor Enrico Letta in 2013.

While Renzi's declaration has been welcomed by CONI, it has caused many to question whether Italy's economic situation has changed much since Monti's “painful” decision to drop the 2020 bid. The prospect of corruption has also been raised, following scandals at the Milan Expo 2015 and the recent Mafia infiltration of Rome.

The premier said that Italy's “cost-conscious” proposal would be centred around Rome but could also include Naples, Florence and Sardinia. This could be possible thanks to recent rule changes by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowing Olympic host countries to hold events in several places, rather than in just one city.

It has also been reported that the Vatican is in discussions about the idea of hosting sporting events such as archery and football, as part of Italy's Olympic bid. Italy has become the first country to announce officially that it is running for the 2024 games. Germany has declared its intention to submit a bid for either Berlin or Hamburg, and will announce its decision by March. France is expected to declare Paris next year, while a decision by the US Olympic Committee is imminent.

Rome hosted the 1960 Olympics as well as the World Swimming Championships in 2009 but cases of corruption surround the expropriation of land and the construction of the infrastructure for the 2009 championships are still in court.

Some commentators point out that the Italian capital already has some of the necessary sporting infrastructure such as the Stadium Olimpico and Olympic swimming pool, although its public transport system is far off the mark for a modern Olympic city.