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St Peter’s Square could be Olympics venue

An Olympic venue? (CNS)

St Peter’s Square may be a host venue for the Olympics, if Italy is awarded the Games in 2024. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins said that Pope Francis would likely agree to host a sport inside the Vatican City if Italy won the bid.

Two years ago Italy scrapped plans to host the 2020 Games because of financial concerns, but on Monday Italian PM Matteo Renzi said that Rome will propose a bid to host the next one.

Mr Renzi said: “The Italian government, together with CONI [Italy’s Olympic committee], is ready to do its part for a project that isn’t based on great infrastructures or big dreams but rather great people. We will be at the vanguard for all the spending controls.”

Cardinal Martins said that the City State could host archery if Rome got the go ahead. He said: “It seems like a great idea and the Pope could approve.

Giovanni Malago, the head of Italy’s Olympic committee, is expected to raise the topic with the Pope on Friday when 6,000 Italian athletes will attend a special Mass in St Peter’s Square. He told media: “Vatican City is inside Rome – I think it would be a great idea. It’s something we could talk to the Vatican about – Cardinal Martins read my mind.”

The 2024 host will be chosen by the International Olympic Committee in 2017.