Radical group calls for referendum on Rome 2024 Olympics bid

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ROME (AP) — The small, left-wing movement Radicali Italiani is calling for a public referendum on Rome's bid for the 2024 Olympics.

"We believe that such an important decision for the future of the capital must be made by the citizens, and that's why we're asking Premier (Matteo) Renzi and (Rome's extraordinary commissioner Francesco Paolo) Tronca to hold a referendum," the group said as it launched a detailed website criticizing the bid.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago and bid chief Luca Cordero di Montezemolo have said they do not plan on a referendum but could survey citizens informally.

Hamburg withdrew its 2024 bid in November after it was defeated in a referendum. Boston also dropped out last year amid a lack of public and political support, and was replaced by Los Angeles.

The IOC will select the host city in 2017, with Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, as Rome's rivals.

Bidding for the 2022 Winter Games was also depleted by the withdrawal of four cities - Stockholm; Oslo; Lviv, Ukraine; and Krakow, Poland - for political or financial reasons.

Rome withdrew its bid for the 2020 Olympics after the government of then Premier Mario Monti declined to provide financial backing.

But Renzi is fully behind the 2024 effort, which has faced little opposition thus far.

Radicali Italiani cited spiraling costs linked to recent Olympics.

Rome's plan call for a games budget of six billion euros ($6.5 billion), or roughly half of what London spent in 2012.

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