The president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee has written to all 33 international sporting federations to express his concern at who will foot the bill for the postponement of the Olympic Games, which will see the current £12 billion cost rocket over the coming months.
The letter, signed by former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori, laid out the “major challenge” ahead in rescheduling the Olympic Games by the end of next summer, with no guarantee that the venues designated for each sport will still be available.
The Japanese government has spared no expense for what is due to be the most expensive Olympic Games ever seen, although that cost will not spiral as a result of the delay brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Tokyo 2020 Toshiro Muto has already conceded that the cost of delaying the Games by up to a year will be “massive”, and communication from organising committee to each respective sporting federation will trigger alarm bells that governing bodies already facing financial crises over the coming months will be expected to foot some of the bill.
In a letter seen by respected sports outlet Insidethegames, Mori said: “The extra cost that will arise from this postponement is inevitable.
“Deciding who will bear these costs and how it will be done will be a major challenge.”
Japan has already spent more than £12bn on preparations for staging the Summer Olympics for the second time, with a new Olympic Stadium built in central Tokyo and vast improvements carried out on the city’s infrastructure.
A conference call was held on Friday in which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told all National Olympic Committees to expect confirmed dates for the Games within the next three weeks, although it is pending the resumption of sport once the coronavirus pandemic has been tackled. Currently, all sport has been suspended in the United Kingdom, with the majority of countries across the globe including Japan doing the same.
Mori also included an optimistic message in his letter, calling on all of those involved in ensuring the Games goes ahead that they “carry out our mission to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 next year, demonstrating that human beings have triumphed over the coronavirus”.
The IOC and Japan 2020 organising committee have created a task force titled ‘Here We Go’ that faces “thousands” of challenges to rescheduling the Games, according to Muto, and who will keep the sporting federations updated on their discussions in an effort to have all voices involved contributing to the matter.
While three Summer Olympics have been cancelled in the past, with the 1916, 1940 and 1944 Games all abandoned due to war, this is the first time that the IOC has been forced into a postponement, which has caused issues surrounding key areas of the Games such as venues, qualification, ticketing and accommodation, not least with the Olympic Village that will house the approximate 11,000 athletes and 4,000 para-athletes due to be sold off after this summer.