Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead next year “with or without COVID”, the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, John Coates has said.
Coates, an Australian, told news agency AFP that the Tokyo Games would start on 23 July next year and has labelled them the “Games that conquered COVID”.
They were originally scheduled to start in July 2020, but were postponed due to the global pandemic. Games chiefs have apparently assured Tokyo organisers that they would not delay the event again.
Despite the year’s delay, the Games will still be called “Tokyo 2020”.
It has been reported that Tokyo could lose as much $US75 billion in revenues if the Games were cancelled. A bill that would have to be foot by its insurers.
B&T has contacted the local broadcaster for the Games, Seven, for comment.
Coates added:”The Games were going to be their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami (a reference to the 2011 catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan).
“Now very much these will be the Games that conquered COVID, the light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.
What the Tokyo Games might look like is anyone’s guess with organisers yet to rule if spectators would be allowed at events.
It has previously said that countries may have to bring smaller delegations and numbers would be curtailed for the opening and closing ceremonies
Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto mirrored Coates’ comments saying the Games going ahead next year was not dependant on a COVID vaccine being found.
“If a vaccine is ready, that will be a benefit, but we’re not saying we can’t hold the event without it – it’s not a precondition,” Muto said.
Tokyo organisers had previously said if the Games do not get the go ahead in the next 12 months they would simply need to be cancelled due to the enormous running costs.
IOC President Thomas Bach explained the decision: “You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee. You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations.”
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