- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) - The head of the Italian Olympic Committee remains confident about Rome’s chances of hosting the 2024 Games after discussing the bid with IOC President Thomas Bach on Wednesday.

CONI chief Giovanni Malago and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi met with Bach at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“We know that (securing the Olympics) will be very complicated but we are optimistic,” Malago said. “Italy’s strength is Italy: its Olympic Committee is 100 years old, it excels in so many sporting disciplines, it has a great reputation.

“But Italy’s weakness is also Italy, with all its problems that we know about and we hope to put behind us.”

Rome launched a bid for the 2020 Games but dropped out two years ago after then-premier Mario Monti refused to provide financial backing at the height of the economic crisis.

“During the meeting, the clear and strong commitment of Prime Minster Renzi became even more obvious,” Bach said. “These words also underline his passion and in-depth knowledge of the Olympic Games and of Olympic Agenda 2020, including the opportunities it offers for bidding cities.”

Renzi has already announced that Rome will propose a cost-conscious bid to host the 2024 Olympics that will take advantage of Bach’s newly approved reforms, which allow events to be held outside the host city.

“It was a positive meeting,” Renzi said. “I’m very happy to have met President Bach and he holds in great esteem Italy, its athletic movement and CONI. I invited him to the Palazzo Chigi (the premier’s office) during his next visit to Rome.

“We can say that after this meeting, the bid for the 2024 Olympic Games can continue with more enthusiasm.”

Rome and Boston are the only declared bidders for the 2024 Games so far. Germany will decide between Berlin and Hamburg as its candidate. Paris is among others also weighing a bid.

Malago will have another meeting with Bach next month, when the bid committee will be announced. He has already revealed to Bach who will lead Italy’s bid committee, but has not announced it publicly yet.

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