Tokyo Olympics organisers want to simplify Games: Bach to AFP

by Eloi ROUYER
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Thomas Bach told AFP that the organisers of the postponed Tokyo Olympics were planning a simplified games

Olympic organisers are looking at ways of simplifying the Tokyo Games in 2021 to meet the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic that forced their postponment, Thomas Bach told AFP on Wednesday.

Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said in an exclusive interview that officials were studying 200 proposals to simplify the Games.

"The impact is huge, as you can imagine. It never happened that we had to organise a postponed Olympic Games, so there is no blueprint for this really mammoth task which we have to perform, and this under the very difficult circumstances of this ongoing pandemic," Bach said.

"So we are looking, together with our Japanese partners and friends, on ways how we can simplify the organisation of the Games, how we can reduce the complexity of the Games, how we can save costs for these postponed Games."

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were supposed to begin on July 24, but in March they became the first Games in peacetime to be postponed. They are scheduled to start on July 23, 2021.

The president of the Tokyo organising committee, Yoshiro Mori, said in Japan on Wednesday that the Olympic Games "used to be conducted in a extravagant, grand, splendour. But the point is that in the face of COVID, would that kind of Games be accepted?"

He added: "The world has changed, socially, economically and medically... we are going to replan and re-position the Games' organisation."

Christophe Dubi, the IOC's Sports Director, said earlier that in order to simplify the Games officials were looking at service levels and the need for goods, operations and venue management.

"From previous Games we've seen that sometimes we overplan and underconsume," Dubi told reporters after a meeting of the IOC's Executive Board.

"We will not let any stone unturned. The result will be positive."

Some officials have expressed concerns that the Olympics cannot take place even in July next year if the virus is still active.

In the AFP interview, Bach denied the IOC had set a deadline for a decision on whether the Games could go ahead.

"There is no timeline and no deadline for this. If we have learned something during this pandemic and during this crisis, it is that the issues evolve by the day, sometimes by the hour," Bach said.

"Therefore, we cannot set a deadline now to say, 'The conditions at this point in time have been as such...'

"We are working on the success of these Olympic Games and we are concentrated on July next year, together with Japan.

"We will stick to our principle that these Games will be organised in a safe environment for all the participants."

Thomas Bach told AFP that the organisers of the postponed Tokyo Olympics were planning a simplified games

Yoshiro Mori, president of the 2020 Tokyo organising committee, said "the world has changed" and next yeasr's Games would change with it