October 22 - There are more Italian cities wanting to bid for the 2020 Olympics than there are "pizzas in Naples", the country's leading sports official has joked.

Gianni Petrucci, the President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), made the joke after Bari became the fourth city from the country to declare an interest in putting itself forward.

They join a list that already includes Palermo, Rome and Venice who have all said since Rio de Janeiro were awarded the 2016 Olympics earlier this month that they plan bids for 2020.

Petrucci is unhappy that cities have made their interest public without first consulting CONI, who must back any bid that is put forward by Italy.

He said: "This doesn't look good abroad.

"It's not enough just to hold a news conference to put yourselves forward for an Olympics.

"There are as many Italian cities bidding as there are pizzas in Naples."

Privately, CONI admit that of the cities who have declared that they want to host the Games they would probably only support one from Rome, which staged the Olympics in 1960.

The others are all either too small or would present too great a logistical challenge, particularly Venice, which is famous for its network of canals and would struggle to find room for a stadium and the other facilities needed to host the Olympics.

But Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari is refusing to give up on his dream, claiming that by also using the neighbouring towns of Treviso and Padua he can find the right formula.

He said: "The Olympics is the biggest international event and to promote and organise the 2020 Games would allow the city and the whole metropolitan area to accelerate numerous regeneration projects.2

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