Rome chosen as Italy bidder for 2020 Games

ROME (Reuters) - Rome has been picked as Italy's bidder for the 2020 Olympic Games after beating off a bold proposal from Venice, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Wednesday.

Officials in the Italian capital, which hosted the Games in 1960, are confident of bringing the Olympics to the ancient city because they believe it will be Europe's turn following the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

CONI's board selected Rome with one vote against and one abstention after a report by a special committee dashed Venice's hopes because the bid did not fulfill the necessary criteria.

"Venice would not reach the points threshold laid down by the International Olympic Committee," a CONI report said.

Several cities across the world are considering a bid for 2020 but the process has not been easy.

Dubai will only bid if it can find a solution to its oppressive hot weather while Japan wants to host the Games with Tokyo possibly trying again having failed to win the 2016 vote.

A bid by Hiroshima is in trouble after Nagasaki pulled out of plans for a joint Games.

The choice of Italy's bid city has also been tortuous after Palermo and Bari said last year they were interested in hosting the 2020 edition.

CONI president Gianni Petrucci reacted angrily to the uncontrolled rush of intent, saying at the time: "There are as many Italian cities bidding as there are pizzas in Naples."

Bari was excluded from bidding and Palermo's plans never got off the ground so Rome and Venice were left to undergo a rigorous set of appraisals by CONI.

Venice's bid had romantic appeal but very few of the events would have taken place in the world famous canal city.

Bid organizers planned on using the neighboring cities of Treviso and Padua as part of proposals to regenerate the area.

Rome's Olympic Stadium from 1960, with accompanying swimming and tennis facilities, has been renovated and is home to soccer teams AS Roma and Lazio as well as a major athletics meeting.

Last year the complex successfully hosted soccer's Champions League final, despite worries over street violence, and the world swimming championships which ran vastly over budget.

Italy hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

The International Olympic Committee will decide in 2013 on who will host the 2020 Summer Games.

(Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by Ken Ferris)