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Olympics will go ahead even if emergency prevails – Why?

"Absolutely Yes", was the response of the IOC Vice President, John Coates, when asked whether the 2020 Games would go ahead as planned even if the emergency situation prevails in Tokyo.

Olympics will go ahead even if emergency prevails – Why?

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 22 May 2021 7:30 AM GMT

"Absolutely Yes"

This was the response of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President, John Coates, when asked whether the 2020 Games would go ahead as planned even if the emergency situation continues to prevail in the host city of Tokyo.

With this statement, the IOC had almost made it certain that they would conduct the already delayed Tokyo Olympics come what may. This despite the fact that a major chunk of the local Japanese population wants the sporting event either to be cancelled or postponed yet again.

This stance of IOC regarding the Olympics definitely raises some eyebrows. Why risk the life of athletes and Japanese people during such a deadly pandemic? Does it not make sense to just cancel or reschedule it yet again? Why are they so adamant about hosting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

Though the IOC has never publicly revealed the profits it would earn through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is speculated that the top-governing body would lose at least around $1.5 billion just from broadcasting rights if the Tokyo Games are scrapped altogether.

Add to this the amount of money that might be lost through sponsors if the Games are canceled, and one would get a clear picture of as to why the IOC continues to insist on hosting the Olympics even if the emergency situation in Tokyo persists.

The IOC incurring such huge losses means that the entire sporting world would be badly affected. They give financial support to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and various International Federations; now if the Olympics are cancelled the NOCs and international federations would have an indirect impact and would make it difficult for them to survive. The thing to be noted here is that many of these NOCs and international federations are already facing severe financial crunch due to covid-19 and a further cancellation of Tokyo Olympics would leave them in a very bad shape.

Besides, the IOC believes that the athletes want the Olympics to be held as planned. Yes, many top sportspersons including Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and others have expressed their reservations on holding the Games under the current situation, but a majority of the athletes continue to believe that the Olympics must happen.

So, if the IOC wants to go ahead with the Olympics can the host country and organisers not call for cancellation?

The simple answer here is no, they cannot. Because as per the contract signed between IOC and the Tokyo organisers, the rights to cancel the Games is solely in the hands of IOC as the Olympics is their 'exclusive property'.

This is the exact reason why the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, recently said that the decision of cancelling the Tokyo Olympics lies in the hands of IOC.

Besides, the financial losses which Japan would suffer due to the cancellation of Olympics are much more than what IOC would and can pose a great threat to the Japanese economy.

The calls for cancellation of 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been growing strong with each passing day, but the fact remains that cancelling it might lead to grave consequences to Japan, the IOC and to the world sporting fraternity in general.

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