International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has said that the Tokyo 2020 Games will have to be cancelled if the these did not happen next year. With the novel coronavirus spreading worldwide at a rapid pace there is no certainty about how safe or unsafe it would be to organised the Games on the revised schedule of July 23 to August 8, 2021, unless an anti-dose is developed for Covid-19.
The novel coronavirus till date has infected nearly 50 lakh people worldwide, resulting in about 3.25 deaths.
Though Japan has managed to control the spread of the virus with the total reported cases of around 16,500, hosting over 11,000, 5,000 officials and coaches and over 20,000 media personnel from across the world will be a real challenge if a reliable solution is not found to deal with the pandemic.
IOC president in an interview with the BBC has expressed fears that the Tokyo 2020 Games will have to be cancelled if these could not be staged on the rescheduled dates next year.
Local organisers are also not keeping any backup plan beyond that date. “You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee,” Bach said. “You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty.
Bach had also admitted the job of re-organising the Games was “a mammoth task” and warned that the event would “definitely be different” with a focus on “essentials”. He also insisted that staging the Games behind closed doors was “not what we want”, but he needs more time to consider whether that was feasible.
Bach also added that “there is no blueprint for it so we have to reinvent the wheel day by day. It’s very challenging and at the same time fascinating.”
The IOC has set aside $800m (£654m) to help with the financial impact caused by the postponement of Tokyo 2020. The total additional cost to Japan has been estimated at between two and six billion dollars.
But Bach said there would also have to be cutbacks to the Games. “They will definitely be different, and they have to be different,” he said. “If we all have learned something during this crisis, [it is] to look to the essentials and not so much on the nice-to-have things.
Bach appealed to Governments around the world to do what they can to help sports deal with the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.