Rome pulls out of bidding to host 2020 Olympics due to economic uncertainty
Rome have dropped out of the race to host the 2020 Olympics and in doing so have given a massive boost to Qatar's hopes.
Rome had been viewed as one of the favourites but their bid was scrapped after Italian premier Mario Monti said the government could not guarantee the necessary financial backing during the economic crisis.
It leaves Tokyo, Doha, Madrid, Istanbul and Baku in the running.
Roman ruin: The Olympic rings behind a marble statue in Italy's capital
Not wanted: An anti-Olympic banner during a demonstration in Rome
Doha, who are bidding to host the Games two years before the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar, do not have the financial issues faced by some other bidders.
Spain's current economic problems also put a question mark against Madrid's bid, though bid chiefs there say hosting the Games could help the country recover from the recession which has left 25 per cent unemployment – with a youth jobless rate of 45 per cent.
Italian premier: Mario Monti
The London 2012 Olympics have cost 9.2billion and a similar sum had been estimated by Rome.
Monti told Italian media: 'We have made a unanimous decision that the Government believes it would be irresponsible to make such guarantees in Italy's current climate.
'We have looked at the plans very carefully and we do not believe it is right to commit Italy to this and risk taxpayers' money.'
Bidding cities have until Wednesday to formally submit their bid file to the International Olympic Committee which includes government financial guarantees.
The election for the 2020 host city takes place next year.
The IOC confirmed that Rome had withdrawn their bid.
An IOC spokesman said: 'We can confirm that Rome has informed the IOC that the city will no longer take part in the 2020 bidding process. We take note of and respect this decision.
'We still have a strong group of applicant cities bidding to host the Olympic Games in 2020 and the IOC looks forward to an exciting competition in the months leading to the election of the host city in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 7 September 2013.'