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IOC says all options on the table for Tokyo 2020 cost-cutting

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said venue changes for rowing and canoeing, as well as volleyball, remain on the table for the 2020 summer Olympic Games following the conclusion of a three-day meeting in Tokyo today (Thursday).

A working group, comprising representatives from the IOC, Tokyo metropolitan and Japanese governments, and the Games organising committee, met for the first time after being proposed by IOC president Thomas Bach in a meeting with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike last month.

In September, a Tokyo government panel urged the organising committee for the Games to relocate three venues for the multi-sport showpiece after warning that costs of hosting could soar to more than Y3tr (€25.8bn/$29bn), over four times the figure that was originally planned.

Christophe Dubi (pictured), the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, today said a decision on the venues will be made at the end of the month when the four parties meet again ahead of the December 1-2 gathering of the IOC's coordination commission in Tokyo. The IOC executive board also meets from December 6-8.

“The options remain,” Dubi said, referring to the potential relocation of the volleyball and rowing/canoe sites, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo. “The purpose of this working group was not to decide; the purpose of the working was to study and ask further questions that will help fully clarify the situation for the benefit of all parties.

“The four-party working group at the end of November will make the decisions. Naturally, those options remain on the table. When it comes to the different views, the feeling was that more information is needed in order to have a full and comprehensive assessment.”

Under the proposals, the metropolitan government is considering moving rowing and canoeing outside of Tokyo to Miyagi Prefecture, and volleyball from the yet-to-be-built Ariake Arena to the existing Yokohama Arena. The organising committee has proved resistant to the proposed changes, but Dubi said the proposals from Koike’s team were “welcome.”

He added: “When you have one objective – and it is to organize the best Games possible and to leave the most possible legacy for the citizens of Tokyo, the vision of Tokyo, any effort that goes in this direction is welcome. What is important for a group of experts, as we were the last two days, is to have factual information and that's what we were after – as much facts as possible.”

Meanwhile, Shinichi Ueyama, the Keio University professor heading Koike’s investigative panel, has said a draft of the overall budget for Tokyo 2020 will be set by December. Tokyo estimated the budget at Y734bn in its bid book, but it has never been formally set and has steadily increased since the Japanese capital was awarded the event in September 2013.