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Thursday 2 April 2020

Olympics 2020: IOC working to arrange July-August window for postponed 2021

The first postponement in the Olympics’ 124-year modern history is expected to create a financial headache for the myriad businesses

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International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-August window for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reported on Thursday.

John Coates, the IOC’s Coordination Commission chief for Tokyo, told the Yomiuri the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, slated to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August.

“We want to more or less finalise the dates in four weeks’ time,” the paper quoted Coates as saying.

Coates, who is also president of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), said the summer scheduling would be dependent on avoiding clashes with the world championships for swimming (16 July-1 August) and athletics (6 August-15 August).

The first postponement in the Olympics’ 124-year modern history is expected to create a financial headache for the myriad businesses with a financial stake in the Games.World Athletics boss Sebastian Coe has said the world athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon could be moved back to 2022 if necessary. 

Coates told the newspaper the hope was to follow the same arrangements next year that had been planned for 2020, including holding the marathon in the northern city of Sapporo instead of Tokyo to escape the heat.

The AOC confirmed the Yomiuri report’s veracity and also told Reuters in a statement that Coates had “proffered a view but confirms a range of options are on the table for the IOC”.

The IOC and Japanese government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world on Tuesday, agreeing to push back the Games by as much as a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

IOC president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that “all options” were on the table for rescheduling, including holding the Games before the Japanese summer.

The sources reported on Wednesday that the organising committee estimates that the postponement will raise the total cost for the Games by 300bn yen ($2.7 billion) due to additional labour and other costs.

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