All news

IOC chief Bach says Tokyo Olympics may be aborted if not held next year

Asked whether it was possible to organize the Olympics in Japan behind closed doors, i.e. without spectators, IOC President Bach said it was "not what we want"

TAS, May 21. President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach said the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, which have been postponed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may be cancelled once and for all if they are not held next year, BBC Sports reported on Thursday.

"You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organizing committee," Bach was quoted as saying in an interview with BBC Sports. "You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty."

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo were scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9, and the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games were planned to be organized between August 25 and September 6. The IOC and the IPC (the International Paralympic Committee) announced their decision on March 24 to postpone for one year the tournaments in Japan due to the continuous COVID-19 spread.

Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Local Organizing Committee, announced on March 30 that the Summer Olympic Games in Japan next year will start on July 23 and the Summer Paralympic Games will begin on August 24.

Asked whether it was possible to organize the Olympics in Japan behind closed doors, i.e. without spectators, IOC President Bach said: "This is not what we want."

"Because the Olympic spirit is about also uniting the fans and this is what makes the games so unique that they're in an Olympic stadium, all the fans from all over the world are together," Bach said.

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 5,101,500 people have been infected worldwide and more than 329,900 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 2,000,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 317,554 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 92,681 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 3,099 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.