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IOC Chief Thomas Bach: You can’t have the athletes being in uncertainty

Published at :May 21, 2020 at 7:22 PM
Modified at :May 23, 2020 at 6:47 PM
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Gaurav Singh


The top executive confirmed that an appropriate call regarding the fate of the Olympic Games could only be taken when there is a clear view of how the world would look in July 2021.

International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach has admitted that the mega-event would have to be cancelled if it could not take place next year. The Olympic Games was earlier scheduled to be held in Tokyo from 24 July-9 August 2020. However, the COVID-19 outbreak across the world prompted the IOC to take a timely call in March to postpone the tournament to 2021.

As of now, it is rescheduled from 23 July 2021-8 August 2021. Still, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently proclaimed that the Olympics could not be arranged in 2021 if the spread of the novel coronavirus is not curbed by then. According to the World Health Organization portal, Japan has so far recorded 16,385 cases and 771 deaths too.

Whilst speaking to BBC, Bach seemed to agree with Abe’s apprehensions. “Quite frankly, I have some understanding for this, because you can’t forever employ 3,000 or 5,000 people in an Organising Committee,” the chief stated. He continued, “You can’t every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You can’t have the athletes being in uncertainty.”

Social distancing norms are preached to be practiced all across the world to tackle the ongoing crisis. Accordingly, it is rather impracticable to assume that a colossal event like the Olympics could be conducted in adherence with the aforementioned regulations. The Olympics or any other major tournament is by nature a hotbed for public gathering. It could be hardly restrained unless one has completely found the way out of the present situation.

With regards to facilities to be arranged to quarantine athletes if necessary, Bach questioned, “What could this mean for the life in an Olympic Village?” He even mentioned, “All these different scenarios are under consideration and this is why I’m saying it’s a mammoth task, because there are so many different options that it’s not easy to address them (now).”

The German international had earlier reaffirmed that the IOC is committed to holding the Olympic Games in the coming year. Nevertheless, he was unafraid to voice the concerns about the same too. “When we have a clear view on how the world will look on 23 July, 2021, then (we will) take the appropriate decisions,” Thomas Bach concluded.

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