BERN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) remains fully committed to staging the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 and is considering multiple scenarios for them to take place safely, IOC President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.
Japan and the IOC postponed the Tokyo Games until 2021 in March because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers have since spoken of trying to simplify the event - which had been due to start on July 24 - to reduce costs and ensure athletes’ safety.
Bach said the IOC’s coordination commission had reported “very good work in progress” and that more details would be given to a full IOC session which will take place by video conference on Friday.
“We remain fully committed to celebrating Tokyo 2020 next year in July and August,” Bach told reporters in a conference call.
“The entire IOC is following the principle we established before the postponement (in March) that the first priority is about the safety of all participants.”
“We continue to be guided by the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and based on this advice we are preparing multiple scenarios,” he added. “We don’t know the health situation one year from now.”
He said that holding events without spectators was
clearly something the IOC did not want.
“We are working for a solution which on the one hand is safeguarding the health of all participants and on the other hand is also reflecting the Olympic spirit,” Bach added
Bach also said the IOC had agreed with host nation Senegal to postpone the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar until 2026.
“This allows the IOC and national Olympic committees to better plan activities which have been strongly affected by the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games and subsequent postponement of other major sports events,” he said.
The decision will have to be ratified by the full IOC session on Friday.
Reporting by Brian Homewood,; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ed Osmond
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