The upheaval unleashed by the first ever postponement of the Olympics and Paralympics was brought into sharp focus as the sporting world began attempting to plan for the unprecedented decision to move Tokyo 2020 to 2021.
On another chaotic day for global sport:
- International Olympic Commission president Thomas Bach admitted organisers had “no blueprint” but faced “many thousands” of decisions to rearrange sport’s £11 billion spectacle
- The IOC suggested that the Games could be held at any stage between January and August next year
- Doubts emerged over whether Tokyo can still provide an Olympic village
- Athletes were left seeking answers over whether they remain qualified or selected
- UK Sport admitted that it was in “unchartered territory” over the future funding of British Olympians
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程The Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022 sought reassurance over the knock-on impact of rearranging the global sporting calendar.
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程In a conference call on Wednesday morning, Bach said that “all options before and including summer 2021” remained open for staging the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and announced a new taskforce - named ‘Here We Go’ - to work through the myriad of logistical and financial issues. “It is like a huge jigsaw puzzle - if you take out one piece the whole puzzle is destroyed,” said Bach. “I don’t envy the members of this taskforce. We have no blueprint. We are nevertheless confident we can put together a beautiful jigsaw puzzle and have a wonderful Olympic Games.”
Timing will be the most immediate question and, although the general expectation is still that the dates will be pushed back to mirror this summer’s planned July 24 start, this currently remains undecided.
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程The British Olympic Association are expected to favour the Games being delayed exactly a year. A change of season, as well as year, would be likely to force further problems in relation to the accessibility of venues and training facilities, of which some are already used during term times. The BOA, for example, have secured access to Keio University and the Odaiba School in Tokyo.
Clashes on the international sporting calendar are another huge concern, with the world championships in athletics and swimming, as well as the men’s and women’s European football championships and the British and Irish Lions rugby tour to South Africa all also currently scheduled for next summer. Swimming and athletics could push their events back into 2022, a situation which has prompted the Commonwealth Games Federation to write to those governing bodies in an attempt to avert any clash with the Commonwealth Games, which are being staged in England at a cost of £750 million.
Organisers are adamant that such a complex multi-sport event could not be moved and want to avoid forcing domestic sports stars like Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty to chose between a home Commonwealth Games and a world championships.
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Bach acknowledged the additional costs and compromise “for everybody” and also the possibility of a further delay if the coronavirus pandemic was not under control by next year.
One major funding question relates to UK Sport’s high-performance programme, which received £550 million of public money to support the best British Olympic and Paralympic athletes during for the Tokyo 2020 cycle.
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程That funding ends next March, meaning that a one-year extension could require in excess of £100 million. The cost would then be offset by a shorter three-year cycle to Paris in 2024 but, with the sports sector facing huge financial losses as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, maintaining current spending on elite sport is certain to be questioned.
“We’re in unchartered territory as to how we go from that March break point through to the summer where it looks like the Games are going to be,” said Dame Katherine Grainger, the chair of UK Sport. “I don’t want to make any presumptions at this point but we’ve had incredible support from the government over many, many years for high performance sport.”
Elite British athletes who had already been selected and qualified for Tokyo 2020 - as well as those who thought that they had missed out - were also seeking answers. The expectation is that individual sports will be given discretion but that those 27 British athletes who had already been selected will still be offered their place next year.
Governing bodies are also awaiting further guidance from the IOC over how qualification will be decided following the cancellation of so many events.
On the question of whether there will be an Olympic village for athletes, with the current Tokyo facility having already been sold for luxury apartments, Bach said: “I can’t tell you what the situation is. The heart of the games is usually beating inside the village. I would be very delighted if we can have an Olympic village in the traditional form.”
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Bach also explained the background to the decision to postpone the Games after the IOC had said on Sunday that it would take four weeks to make a decision.
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程“What made us take this decision were the developments - the dynamic spreading of the coronavirus - Africa was a big worry,” he said. The IOC was accused of endangering athletes by not coming to a quicker decision, but Bach was adamant that the health “of all participants” was the overriding consideration. Asked if he had considered resigning, he simply said “no”.
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程It was reported on Tuesday that two Turkish boxers and a coach have tested positive for coronavirus after taking part in the Olympic qualifying boxing tournament that controversially started in London last week at a time when many sports had already stopped.