John Coates assured that the appointment in Tokyo will take place regardless of whether the vaccine exists or not or from which countries the athletes are going to participate.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will take place next year, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, he announced this Monday. John Coates, Vice President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
During a telephone interview with the AFP agency, the president of the IOC Coordination Committee for the meeting in Japan stated that the meeting will take place “with or without” coronavirus and he specified that “they will begin on July 23 of next year.”
“It will be the Games that will have conquered Covid-19. The light at the end of the tunnel,” he said without caring if there is a vaccine against the virus or not.
The theme of these Games will continue to be “rebuilding after the devastation caused by the tsunami,” Coates said, alluding to the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan in 2011.
The Olympic Games were supposed to open on July 24, but organizers made the historic decision, in March, to postpone them to the summer of 2021, as the coronavirus spread around the world.
The Japanese authorities clearly indicated that they do not want the Games to be postponed again. The country’s borders remain largely closed to foreigners and many experts doubt that by next summer the pandemic will be under control.
According to several recent polls, a clear majority of Japanese want the Games to be postponed again or canceled, due to the coronavirus.
But Coates, however, stressed that the Japanese government “has not given up at all” to organize them, despite “the monumental task” that the postponement constitutes.
“Before the Covid, Thomas Bach declared that they were the best prepared Games we have ever seen. The venues were almost all finished. Now they are, the (Olympic) village is incredible, everything is going well,” he said.
“They were postponed for a year, which represents a gigantic task in terms of giving security to all the venues,” he added.
He explained that it has been necessary to renegotiate the contracts with the sponsors and the hotels, with the commitments of the sponsors renewed for one year, as well as the broadcasting rights.
“In some countries the situation (linked to the coronavirus) is under control, in others it is not. We will have athletes who come from places where it is under control and others from places where it is not.“he added.
The question of the number of spectators allowed to attend the Olympic events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, is also under study.
The working group, made up of Japanese officials and IOC members, met for the first time last week. “Your task now is to look at all the measures that will be necessary for the Games to take place,” explained Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee since 1990.
Japan has invested thousands of dollars in these Games and the delay will increase the costs. Coates recalled that the IOC has tried to soften the consequences of the crisis, injecting “an additional 800 million dollars to support the international federations, whose income will be amputated this year, as well as the national Olympic committees.”
The Olympic flame of the Games is on display in a museum in Tokyo and a giant set of Olympic rings, 69 tonnes and 15×32 meters, was removed from the bay of the Japanese capital for maintenance.