To host or not to host? Italians are discussing about the eventual candidacy of Rome in the race to win the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

The city’s newly elected mayor Virginia Raggi and her fellow Five Stars party members have been against the idea since the election campaign in spring, underscoring how the event is not a priority. Raggi is standing firm in her position, stressing that her focus is to provide better services to Roman citizens on a daily basis, and not to channel resources for a 15-day event.

But the Rome2024 committee nominated a group of 17 prominent personalities, who decided to serve as ambassadors in favor of the cause.

They include Giorgio Armani; 21 Investimenti’s president Alessandro Benetton; Barilla Group’s president Guido Barilla; Ferrero’s chief executive officer Giovanni Ferrero; Pirelli’s ceo Marco Tronchetti Provera; Juventus football club’s president Andrea Agnelli; Andrea Bocelli; actress Monica Bellucci; Oscar-awarded actor Roberto Benigni; directors Giuseppe Tornatore and Paolo Sorrentino and composer Ennio Morricone, among others.

The group stressed in unison the importance of hosting the Games, defining the international sporting event as a not-to-be-missed opportunity for the city and the country.

As stated by the Corriere della Sera on Friday, politician Stefano Fassina reacted to the pool of ambassadors and their position, saying: “Would the Olympic [games] be a priority to them if they lived every day the life of almost three million Roman [citizens]?” Fassina also underscored how the CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, will ask the government to provide 140 million euros, or $156 million at current exchange, every year starting from 2017 to organize the event, adding provocatively, “Shall we ask to Roman [citizens] to choose if they want the Olympic games through a referendum?”

Raggi will meet CONI’s president Giovanni Malagò in September, after the upcoming Rio Games. For the occasion, the mayor decided not to send any representative of Rome’s municipality to Rio de Janeiro, highlighting once again her detachment regarding the event. According to Corriere della Sera, Raggi said, “I believe that Rome needs all its employees to stay here and dedicate themselves to this city, which has been abandoned for too long.”

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. The deadline for the bid is Oct. 7. Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest are the other three cities competing for the Olympics.

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