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SAN FRANCISCO-The City of San Francisco has halted its bid for the 2016 Olympics. The news follows closely on the heels of a decision by the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers to scrap plans for a new stadium where its current, 43-year-old stadium now sits at Candlestick Point.

News of the team’s decision to focus on developing its $600-million to $800-million stadium in Santa Clara broke Friday, causing Candlestick Point redeveloper Lennar Corp. to cancel its planned Saturday presentation on the virtues of a new football stadium there. On Monday, the city’s bid for the 2016 Olympics was officially scrapped.

The new stadium was a key piece of the city’s bid. Among other things, it was slated to host the opening and closing ceremonies. A previous bid for an earlier Olympics was said to have fallen short in part because those events would have had to occur outside city limits.

The city’s decision to abandon its bid leaves Los Angeles and Chicago as the only cities in the running to be the US Olympic Committee’s selection. The International Olympic Committee will select the host city in 2009. Madrid, New Delhi, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Tokyo are among the international cities to have expressed interest. The Summer Olympics will be in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

In announcing that the football team would focus on constructing its new 68,000-seat football stadium in Santa Clara–already home to the team’s headquarters and practice facility–team owner John York said Friday that “Candlestick cannot accommodate all that we are asking it to do and still provide the fan with the ultimate experience.” Specifically, York mentioned the need to give the fans more surface parking for the traditional tailgating parties that occur before and after the football games.

The city apparently had some idea that the 49ers may have been leaning toward not developing the new Stadium at Candlestick Point. The football team on Monday made public a letter it sent to Mayor Gavin Newsom in September suggesting the San Francisco 2016 Bid Committee consider renovating the team’s current stadium as a back-up plan to a new stadium.

Neither Newsom nor Scott Givens, managing director and chief executive officer of the San Francisco 2016 Bid Committee, could be reached Tuesday morning for comment. According to published reports, city and bid committee officials have said they didn’t expect the football team to bail and didn’t put much stock in a bid that did not include a new stadium within city limits.

The 49ers current lease at Candlestick runs through the 2008 season. The team holds three five-year options that could extend it through 2023.

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