IOC and Tokyo 2020 form joint steering committee

John Coates, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, will head up the joint steering committee

The International Olympic Committee and the local organising committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have announced the establishment of a ‘joint steering committee’ for ensuring the delivery of the postponed Games.

The committee was announced following a teleconference between the IOC’s Coordination Commission chair John Coates, Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi, Tokyo 2020 president Yoshirō Mori and chief executive Toshirō Mutō.

At the press conference announcing the committee, Coates also said the IOC would be making an emergency contribution of “several hundred million dollars” to help international sports federations and national Olympic committees. “We will not stand by and see our international federations collapse,” he said, reported by Japan Today.

Mori and Coates will lead the joint steering committee for the rescheduled Games, with the minimisation of costs incurred due to the postponement among its highest priorities. Earlier this week, IOC president Thomas Bach said the the delay would leave his organisation facing additional costs of “several hundred million dollars”.

According to a statement from the IOC, the committee will “explore all opportunities to optimise and streamline the scope and service levels at the Games” in order to keep those losses to a minimum.

Japan Today reported that Coates talked about the difference between “must-have” and “nice-to-have” features at the Games, and said cuts could be expected in areas including hospitality and expensive “live sights” for public viewing.

The IOC also states that the plan for the rescheduled Olympics, which will now take place in July and August of 2021, should replicate as closely as possible the original plans for 2020, with a focus placed on ensuring deals are struck to use the same venues and stick to the competition schedule.

That is arguably among the biggest complications faced at this stage, with Mori stating that a time frame for concluding those discussions was impossible to give at this stage: “There are various venues involved, which have different contracts, and there are different entities which own venues. Some of them are private entities, some of them are public entities, so all situations are different.

”Therefore, I don’t think it is correct to say, uniformly, that by this timeline we will have arrived at this conclusion. We have to look into every different case very elaborately and very clearly.”

The committee has outlined its intention to establish a new roadmap for the games by May of this year, “in order to then align resources and priorities accordingly”. The potential long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will also be among the priorities, after Mutō recently admitted that he was unsure whether the outbreak would be entirely under control by next July.

Taking recommendations from the World Health Organisation, the joint steering committee will investigate potential necessary measures to be incorporated into the Games to ensure the safety of athletes and the public.