Toronto and Baku (main pic) are still mulling over whether to join the race to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games with the deadline for bids looming next week.

As it stands there are five confirmed candidate cities – Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Budapest and Hamburg, interested in staging the four-yearly sporting extravaganza.

IOC executive director Christophe Dubi confirmed Friday Toronto and Baku had yet to make up their minds on throwing their hats into the Olympic ring.

“The two cities are still considering and we need a confirmation,” he said at IOC headquarters in Lausanne.

Toronto’s potential bid is supported by Marcel Aubut, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee in the wake of the success of the Panamerican Games in the Ontario state capital in July.

But in the run up to October’s General Election the cost and possible budget over runs are occupying voters’ minds.

Canada has played host to one Olympic Games – Montreal in 1976 which resulted in crippling debts that took decades for the city to pay off.

Baku, one of the also rans in the battle to stage the 2016 Games, is basking in the success of this year’s inaugural European Games, held in the Azerbaijani capital in June.

But the powers that be in the mineral-rich former Soviet Union republic are hesitating pitting themselves against heavyweight candidates even if a fresh bid could serve their case well in the future.

The two cities have until midnight Tuesday to decide.

The modified bidding process involves three stages, with the IOC members voting as to who hosts them in Lima in September 2017.

Rome meanwhile on Friday sent off their official bid letter to the IOC.

“The true challenge for the Italian capital begins today,” Rome’s bid committee said in a statement.

“Rome….already has much of the infrastructure needed for the 2024 Games in place and will focus on renovation and upgrades to existing facilities – many of which are themselves a legacy of the 1960 Olympics,” it added.

Rio beat Madrid in an IOC vote in Copenhagen in 2009 to stage next year’s Games with Tokyo chosen to host the 2020 Games. – Agence France-Presse

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