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Thomas Bach: Postponing Olympic Games will cost IOC 'several hundred million dollars'

President says committee will honour its financial obligations to Tokyo

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past the Olympic rings in front of the Japan Olympics Museum, in Tokyo. Reuters
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past the Olympic rings in front of the Japan Olympics Museum, in Tokyo. Reuters

The postponement of the Tokyo Games next year because of the coronavirus pandemic will cost the International Olympic Committee (IOC) "several hundred million dollars", according to its president Thomas Bach.

Writing to the Olympic movement, Bach said the IOC was already forced to shoulder "several hundred million US dollars of postponement costs," saying it would honour its financial obligations to Tokyo, but would probably have to make cuts.

"We also need to look into and review all the services that we provide for these postponed Games," he added.

"The IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the operational burden and its share of the costs for these postponed Games."

The IOC, which has approximately $1 billion (Dh3.6bn) in reserves, took the historic decision to postpone the Games, scheduled to open on July 24, until July 23 to August 8, 2021.

If the coronavirus pandemic is not brought under control within a year, the Games cannot be postponed again and will be cancelled, the head of the organising committee (COJO) Yoshiro Mori warned on Tuesday.

A task force, which brings together the IOC and various partners, including COJO, "has established the priorities and management strategies to make these postponed Olympic Games feasible and successful", Bach said.

"At this moment, nobody knows what the realities of the post-coronavirus world will look like," Bach said. "What is clear, however, is that probably none of us will be able to sustain every single initiative or event that we were planning before this crisis hit."

The German, 66, also said the Olympic movement should consider its relationship with esports in light of social distancing.

"Whilst maintaining our principles by respecting the red line, with regard to the Olympic values, we encourage all our stakeholders even more urgently to 'consider how to govern electronic and virtual forms of their sport and explore opportunities with game publishers'," he said.

Updated: April 30, 2020 05:40 AM

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