Bach suggests Tokyo 2020 could be rescheduled before summer as taskforce created to address challenges
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President THOMAS BACH has opened the door to the possibility of Tokyo 2020 being rescheduled before the summer of 2021 and warned those involved in the moving of the Games would have to make “sacrifices and compromises”.
BACH said the postponed Olympic Games would “not be restricted to the summer months” and claimed all options were on the table after the event was delayed until 2021 following a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the coronavirus pandemic was accelerating.
A taskforce called “Here We Go”, comprising members of the IOC Coordination Commission and the Organising Committee has been established to navigate the complicated challenges stemming from the first postponement of the Games in history.
The IOC President said a decision on the time of the rearranged event would be made “as soon as possible” and revealed the organisation will hold talks with the governing bodies of all 33 sports on the Tokyo 2020 programme tomorrow.
“We have to see with them what the options are,” Bach said on a conference call today.
“After having consulted with them we also have to take into account the sporting calendar around the Olympic Games and many, many other issues.
“We should come to a solution as soon as possible, but first priority should be the quality of the decision, to really be able to take the input of all stakeholders into account.”
BACH described the postponement of the Games as a “huge jigsaw puzzle and every piece has to fit” and warned “sacrifices and compromises” would need to be made by all stakeholders to ensure the success of Tokyo 2020.
“If you take out one piece, the whole puzzle is destroyed,” he added.
“Having seen the proof of the professionalism and the dedication of the Organising Committee, I am really confident we can also master this first-ever challenge.
“These postponed Olympic Games will need sacrifices, will need compromises by all stakeholders.
“The Games have never been postponed before, but we are nevertheless confident we can put a beautiful jigsaw puzzle and we can have a wonderful Olympic Games.”
The use of the Olympic Village and other venues, which Bach could not guarantee would be available for the Games, and the impact of the postponement on the sporting calendar are among the key issues for the IOC in the lead-up to the rescheduled event.
“This is one of the many thousands of questions this task force will have to address,” Bach said.
“We hope and we will do whatever we can so that there is an Olympic Village, the Village is where the heart of the Games beat.”
The IOC and Japanese officials had repeatedly stressed the Olympics would open as planned on July 24, despite growing international concern over the spread of COVID-19 which has killed over 19,000 people and infected more than 434,000 worldwide.
Bach insisted he had no regrets over how the crisis was handled and claimed a rising number of cases in Africa had forced the IOC and Japanese officials into action.
A warning from the WHO on Monday (March 23) that the virus was accelerating – which came the day after an emergency meeting of the IOC Executive Board, where the body publicly stated a postponement was being considered for the first time – “alarmed” the IOC, BACH added.
The IOC had come under increasing pressure from high-profile National Olympic Committees and athletes to delay the Games because of the impact of coronavirus on training and qualification.
BACH also admitted cancellation had been on the table but it was “very clear that this should not be something that the IOC would in any way favour”.