The organizers of the Tokyo-Tokyo Olympics announced on Friday some “simplification” changes for the postponed game next year, but with little significant cost savings.
The simplification of the Tokyo Olympics has been a pledge of the International Olympic Committee and local organizers since COVID-19 forced an unprecedented delay six months ago. Local estimates indicate that this delay will cost billions of dollars, most of which will be borne by the local taxpayer.
“It’s like half-filled or half-empty glass,” said Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the Organizing Committee, while speaking in Japanese at the end of a two-day online meeting with IOC personnel. ,Said.
Mori said some would see the reduction as a plus, and others would expect more.
Cost reduction is a relatively small item, and we will mainly focus on what measures to take against the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months. This includes rules for athletes entering Japan, questions from fans at the venue, possible quarantine, and availability of vaccines.
Everything is still in the air and may be next year.
Mr. Mori suggested that further cuts could be expected, but said the cuts would be difficult due to the IOC contracts already in place with broadcasters and other stakeholders. The organizer initially talked about cutting 200 items, but initially solved it with 50 items.
“Maybe I did something bolder and bolder,” Mori said.
Toshiro Mutou, President and CEO of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, was asked how much savings were made by the simplification.
“There are no immediate numbers at this point,” he said, adding that he would like to reveal details of the IOC Executive Board meeting in October.
Earlier this week, the Mainichi Shimbun reported that savings could be up to 1-2% of the official operating budget, or $ 12.6 billion.
However, government auditors said the actual spending was twice that, and earlier this month Oxford University published a study that Tokyo was the highest summer Olympics.
The simplifications include: Reduce the size of “stakeholder delegation” by 10-15%. Cancel some of the IOC sessions that took place before the Olympics. Reduce the availability of the main press center by 8 days. Review of transportation for stakeholders; cancellation of welcome ceremony in Olympic Village. Tighten the overall look of the venue and the Olympic Village. It also reduces office space by 14%.
Authorities reiterated that they did not reduce the number of athletes (11,000 for the Olympics, 4,400 for the Paralympics) or the number of events.
There are other items that are unlikely to be cut, such as the 121-day torch relay sponsored by Coca-Cola and Toyota. The opening and closing ceremonies that are popular with broadcasters remain largely untouched, but the pandemic makes us feel calm.
John Coates, vice president of the IOC, who oversees Tokyo’s preparations, needs to change some rules to deal with athletes who may be forced to quarantine if COVID-19 is positive in Tokyo. He said it would be.
“If an athlete tests positive for COVID, we need to be prepared to remove the athlete from the game in the same way-not in the same disgrace, but in the same way we replace the athlete with a doping problem.” “And if they get the vaccine, there will be an agreement that they (athletes) will accept the vaccine,” Coates said.
IOC President Thomas Bach has told Japanese officials Thursday that vaccines may be prepared for the Olympic Games on July 23, 2021.
“A variety of vaccines will be available in the first few months of next year,” Bach said. “They will be available in very large quantities.”
He said this could be hundreds of millions of doses available in the first half of the new year.