Friday December 03, 2021

Tokyo 2020 organisers start ‘daunting’ task of rescheduling Olympics

By Pa & AFP
March 27, 2020

TOKYO: Tokyo 2020 organisers admit the bill to reschedule the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year will “probably be massive”.

The leading figures on the organising committee, president Yoshiro Mori and chief executive Toshiro Muto, left no doubt that the task of reorganising the biggest sporting event on Earth was going to be a challenge on an unprecedented scale.

The Games — which had been due to start on July 24 - were delayed until 2021 following a conference call between Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach as a result of the accelerating coronavirus pandemic.The task force which must find new dates for the Games met for the first time on Thursday, and Muto said: “We need to secure the facilities.

Not only the venues but the athletes’ village, training sites and what not. We need to assess whether they will be available when we need them next year.

There will be additional costs that come with this - and we expect it will probably be massive.

We are dealing with the postponement of the Games, which has never happened in history. The task is daunting.”

Mori said seven years of work would now have to be crammed into six months. “What we have been working on for seven years came to a screeching halt just as it was about to start - and now we have to build it back again,” he said.

“We are going to have to cram into about six months what we achieved in seven years so it will be difficult. To use rugby lingo, we now need to string phase after phase, after phase.

It will not be a game of packs. Making decisions seamlessly will be crucial.”

The Games are now due to take place no later than the summer of 2021, with Bach saying on Wednesday that all other options - including a spring start - were not being ruled out.

Muto admitted a swift decision on the new dates was key. “We have to decide when the opening ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics will be,” he said. “Without that, there are a lot of things we simply cannot do.”

According to the Nikkei daily, organisers estimate it will cost an extra $2.7 billion, including for venue rentals, rebooking hotels and additional payments for staff and security guards, among others.

Those costs could still come down depending on the outcome of negotiations, the business daily reported.The Olympics have

never faced this much disruption in peacetime, and the decision to delay the event has created unprecedented challenges, Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said.

Tokyo 2020 staff “will experience difficulties they have never experienced before. I am sure they will rise to the occasion. This is going to be a very difficult task that we are facing,” he said.

No deadlines have yet been set for the rescheduling of the Games, which are now due to take place by summer 2021, but Mori said he would ensure “all the decisions are made as quickly as possible”.