Coronavirus is pandemic, Tokyo 2020 postponed to 2022? Pros and cons, let’s see

A man wearing a protective mask, left, stands in front of Olympic rings installed in the Odaiba district of Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics reiterated that the games are going forward on schedule following a re

Gianni Merlo AIPS President

Haruyuki Takahashi, member of the Organizing Committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and previously top manager of Dentsu, in an interview released to the Wall Street Journal has aired the possibility that the in a case of extreme necessity the Games scheduled for next July and August in the Japanese capital, could be postponed to the summer of 2022. Let’s look at the possible scenarios:

THE CHOICE Why postpone the Games for two years and not try to organize them in 2021?
I believe that the answer is simple: Many World Championships are scheduled for the coming year, organized by the international federations that participate in the Olympic Games, so it would be more problematic to postpone or even cancel them, but paying heavy penalties.

ADVANTAGES 2022 already foresees the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the FIFA World Cup in November and December in Doha in Qatar, so there would be no contemporaneity, even if the crowding of events of maximum interest in the same year would end up making it more problematic for the management of the programming of the advertising campaigns of the various sponsors. But for this you can always find a solution.

DISADVANTAGES It will be necessary to move the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (UK) and the Hangzhou Asian Games (China) – certainly not an easy task, but not impossible if the world of sport manages to unify to save all events and therefore meet the needs of athletes, who with  results they achieve in the Olympic Games can change their lives. Many continental championships are scheduled for the summer of 2022 and it would be necessary to find an immediate agreement with the organizers to minimize the inconvenience – perhaps by studying a form of financial compensation.

OLYMPIC VILLAGE The apartments in the Olympic Village have already been sold to private individuals, who take possession in September after the Games, therefore with the move the current Village would no longer exist, and it would be necessary to create a new one – an undertaking achievable only in China … Maybe it could be possible to retain the Village for a delayed Games by finding an agreement with the owners, an undertaking that is not very simple and which would certainly lead to a refund for the new owners.

THE MILLIONS The International Federations that will participate in the Tokyo Games will share, according to a precise rule, the almost 600 million dollars made available by the IOC. For many of them this flow of money is vital to stay afloat, therefore I believe the federations will favour any choice that will allow them to retain the financial aid coming from IOC,  and also the postponement of the Games

CONCLUSION Japan will try to organize this year’s  Games at all costs, and as scheduled, otherwise the Organizing Committee will probably propose to have the possibility to move them to save the investments made. But with the World Health Organization officially declaring Covid-19 a pandemic the last hopes of the Games going ahead this next summer are sunk. For this reason the question is: will everybody agree to make sacrifices to save the Olympic spirit in two years? It is difficult to predict. Only once did the Games take place over two years, but they were Winter Games 1994, when the IOC decided to divide the Summer Games from the Winter ones to be able to collect more money and keep the interest for the sport of the Five Rings awake practically every year . It was an excellent commercial choice and perhaps now the time has come to share more funds with the other sports stakeholders in order to save the entire house.

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