November 11 - A potential bid by Bari to host the 2020 Olympics has been blocked by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), who are growing increasingly frustrated at the number of cities in the country putting themselves forward as candidates.

Gianni Petrucci, the President of CONI, said in a letter to Bari Mayor Michele Emiliano that Bari, a city on Italy's South Eastern coast, did not have the assets to mount a realistic bid for the Games.

The committee ruled out Palermo last month for the same reason while Milan has withdrawn a planned bid before it even left the drawing board.

Mario Pescante, Italy's former Sports Minister who is a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said he feared that the fact so many cities were declaring themselves as potential candidates was undermining the prospect of a credible bid from Rome.

The Italian capital is seen as the only realistic candidate from Italy to host the Games

Pescante said: ''We're getting to the point where it's beyond a joke.

"Bids are being made just out of local pride, just to get people talking."

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