Coronavirus: Japan considers options for postponing the Olympics 2020

The organizing Committee for the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo has begun considering alternatives to hosting the Games this summer, despite assurances from the Japanese government that the postponement of the competition is not being discussed, Reuters reported, citing its sources.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many major international competitions and national tournaments have been canceled or postponed, but Tokyo continues to state that the Olympics will be held on schedule — from July 24 to August 9.

The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics were under heavy pressure from sports federations insisting on postponing the Games.

The influential US Track and Field Federation (USATF), which sent a letter to the national Olympic Committee, called for the postponement of the competition.

The head of the US Swimming Federation, Tim Hinchey, said that the postponement of the Olympics for a year would be the right and responsible step, CNN reports. The Federation of Water Sports of France joined on Saturday to this appeal.

The Norwegian National Olympic Committee has sent a letter to the IOC stating, in part: “Our clear recommendation is that the Tokyo Olympic Games should not be held until the COVID-19 situation is brought under full control globally.”

The UK Athletics Federation also questions the feasibility of hosting the Games this summer. Federation Chief Executive Nick Coward told the BBC: “This puts huge pressure on the system. Something must be done about it.”

The IOC advises athletes to prepare for competitions. However, many Olympians are also in favor of postponing the Games.

Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi accused sports officials of putting athletes in danger. “The IOC wants us to risk our health, the health of our families and the population by training every day?”- the Greek athlete wrote on Twitter.

Katarina Mary Johnson-Thompson, a member of the British Olympic team, said it was impossible to continue training normally. “Information from the IOC and recommendations from local authorities contradict each other,” the world champion in the track and field heptathlon writes on Twitter.

Japan could lose more than $ 3 billion in sponsorship investment and about $ 12 billion spent on preparing for the Olympics if it does not take place. In addition, the authorities hope for a large influx of tourists and income growth in the Japanese service and trade sector.

Reuters, meanwhile, quoted an unnamed official close to the Olympics Organizing Committee as saying: “Finally we have been asked to calculate the transfer option.” This source, according to the Agency, is involved in the development of scenarios for the Games.

Both Agency sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press, Reuters reports.

“We are making alternative plans-plans B, C, D-exploring various options for moving schedules,” the source confirmed, adding that various scenarios include an assessment of financial losses.
Neither the Olympic organizers nor the Japanese government has yet commented on these reports.

A Reuter’s source reports that options for holding Games on a reduced program or without spectators at stadiums will be discussed at the end of March.

A second Reuter’s source confirms that such discussions are indeed underway and that discussions are being held, in particular, to postpone the Games for a year or two. Some members of the organizing Committee still hope that the Games can be rescheduled for a month or 45 days.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) makes the final decision on holding or postponing the Games, but the opinion of Japan, the host of the tournament, is also very important.

On Friday, IOC President Thomas Bach admitted in an interview with the New York Times that various scenarios for the Olympics 2020 are being considered, but there are no plans to cancel the Games.