LAUSANNE, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee Sunday announced that the IOC will step up its scenario-planning for Tokyo 2020 and a detailed discussions including the scenario of postponement will be completed within four weeks.
"The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement. The IOC is confident that it will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks," the IOC said in a statement.
The IOC Executive Board emphasized that a cancellation of Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda.
According to the statement, a number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore. The situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle, and the international sports calendar for at least 33 Olympic sports would have to be adapted. These are just a few of many, many more challenges.
These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games.
On the one hand, there are significant improvements in Japan where the people are warmly welcoming the Olympic flame. This could strengthen the IOC's confidence in the Japanese hosts that the IOC could, with certain safety restrictions, organize Olympic Games in the country whilst respecting its principle of safeguarding the health of everyone involved.
On the other hand, there is a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of COVID-19 in different countries on different continents. This led the Executive Board to the conclusion that the IOC needs to take the next step in its scenario-planning.
After the Executive Board meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach wrote to the global athlete community to provide them with an explanation of the IOC's approach.
In the letter, Bach stated once more that safeguarding the health of everyone involved and contributing to contain the virus is the fundamental principle, and said: "Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games. The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus.
"I wish, and we all are working for this, that the hope so many athletes, NOCs and IFs from all five continents have expressed will be fulfilled: that at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel." he wrote.