Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto today (Thursday) conceded that organisers are facing “massive” additional costs in securing the facilities needed to deliver a rescheduled summer Olympic Games in 2021.
Muto was speaking as the Tokyo 2020 New Launch Task Force met in the Japanese capital for the first time after Tuesday’s announcement that the Olympics, initially scheduled for July 24 to August 9, would be postponed for the first time in peacetime years due to the global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee announced that all new permanent venues for the Games had been completed. The Tokyo Aquatics Centre was the final permanent venue to be completed on schedule at the end of February.
Muto stressed today that it is not just the 43 competition venues that will need to be secured once again, but also thousands of existing contracts spanning the likes of accommodation, security and ticketing.
Muto said: “We need to secure the facilities. Not only the venues but the athletes’ village, training sites, storages and what not. We need to assess whether they will be available when we need them next year.
“There will be additional costs that come with this – and we expect it will probably be massive. We are dealing with the postponement of the Games, which has never happened in history. The task is daunting.”
Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori (pictured) added: “In short, what we have been working on for seven years came to a screeching halt just as it was about to start – and now we have to build it back again. We are going to have to cram into about six months, what we achieved in seven years so it will be difficult.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to secure a July-August 2021 slot for the Games, according to John Coates, chair of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020.
Coates told Japanese newspaper Yomiuri that the IOC is seeking to complete a new schedule within a month, adding that the Games would need to be slotted between the tennis grand slams of Wimbledon and the US Open. “We want to more or less finalise the dates in four weeks’ time,” Coates said.
Coates added that a summer Games would need to avoid clashes with 2021’s World Athletics Championships and World Aquatics Championships. Both World Athletics and the International Aquatics Federation (FINA) have already said they are prepared to reschedule their events, currently set for Eugene, Oregon on August 6-15 and Fukuoka, Japan from July 16 to August 1, respectively.
Muto added today: “We have to decide when the opening ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics will be. Without that, there are a lot of things we simply cannot do.”
Image: Tokyo 2020