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Italy withdraws Rome bid for 2027 World Athletics Championships

Dropped bid sparks political spat between capital and government.

The Italian Athletics Federation Fidal has withdrawn Rome's bid to host the 2027 World Athletics Championships, the sporting body confirmed on Wednesday.

Fidal said in a statement that it had written to the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Sebastian Coe, informing him of the decision to withdraw due to the bid not meeting the "minimum requirements".

The decision to drop Rome's candidature came after the government failed to guarantee the requested funds of €85 million (out of a total of €130 million) required to host the event.

Rome sports councillor Alessandro Onorato reacted angrily to the "unreasonable" decision, comparing prime minister Giorgia Meloni to the capital's former Virginia Raggi who torpedoed Rome's chance of hosting the 2024 Olympics eight years ago.

"Yet another missed opportunity for sport and for the capital", Onorato said, citing the lost "positive effects it would have generated on the redevelopment of sports facilities, tourism and related industries."

Onorato said the decision was "even more serious" as the premier and sport minister are both from Rome and "know well how ready our city would have been to organise this great international sporting event in the best possible way."

Italy's sport minister Andrea Abodi hit back at Onorato, claiming that the government had done "everything possible" to support the bid, "even asking Fidal in November last year to prepare a business plan, a document that perhaps was required much sooner, and was presented on 24 January."

Abodi said that "with all the good will, in such a delicate phase for our country", it was impossible to find the public guarantees necessary to cover the €85 million requested.

On Thursday evening the IAAF announced that the 2027 World Athletics Championships would be held in China's capital Beijing.

Cover image: Gianmarco Tamberi. Photo credit: Marco Iacobucci Epp / Shutterstock.com.

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