(ATR) The IOC says there is “no need for drastic decisions” about the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo threatened by the corona virus pandemic.
was issued after an hour-long teleconference between the IOC Executive Board and leaders of the international federations participating in the Tokyo Games.
The briefing for the federations will be followed in the coming days with similar sessions with the winter federations, National Olympic Committees, athletes and the International Paralympic Committee.
“This is an unprecedented situation for the whole world, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis. We are in solidarity with the whole of society to do everything to contain the virus,” says the communiqué, acknowledging the effect the virus is having on plans for Tokyo, “changing day by day”.
The communiqué says it is still too soon to make any decisions about the fate of the Games. Conspicuous is the absence of any reference to postponement or cancellation.
“The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.
“The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can. We will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs, and by providing them with the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website and via their respective NOCs and Ifs,” says the statement, which expresses confidence in the work being done around the world to contain the virus.
“We will continue to act in a responsible way,” says the IOC, promising to be guided by two “overriding principles”:
“1. To protect the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus.
2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.”
The communiqué rejects the notion that financial concerns will drive IOC decisions.
“The IOC’s decision will not be determined by financial interests, because thanks to its risk management policies and insurance it will in any case be able to continue its operations and accomplish its mission to organise the Olympic Games,” says the statement.
The IOC says the next visit of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo in the coming weeks will be conducted remotely, without need for the 17 members to travel to Tokyo.
The statement confirms the complications that have arisen as Olympic qualifiers in some sports have been postponed due to corona counter-measures. The IOC says just 57 percent of the athlete slots for the Tokyo Olympics have been filled.
“Currently, all Olympic Movement stakeholders and the athletes face significant challenges around securing the final qualification places for the Games. In some countries, athletes are even finding it hard to continue their regular training schedules. The IOC is reassured by the solidarity and flexibility shown by the athletes, the IFs and the NOCs, that are managing these challenges across a number of sports,” says the statement, promising the IOC’s willingness to do what’s needed to get athletes qualified.
“The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern,” says IOC President Thomas Bach.
“All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community; we support one another in good times and in difficult times. This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community.”
Reported by Ed Hula.
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