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IPC faces up to cash flow issues after Paralympics postponement

Andrew Parsons, president of the IPC, speaks during a press conference (by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has admitted it faces a cash flow problem in the wake of the postponement of the 2020 summer Paralympic Games, but has maintained it won’t turn to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for further assistance.

Tokyo’s Paralympics were last month rescheduled to run from August 24 to September 5, 2021, as the Japanese capital’s Olympic Games were handed new dates amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking during a teleconference with reporters yesterday (Wednesday), IPC president Andrew Parsons said that the governing body is seeking to cut five per cent from its budget.

While he did not go into precise details, the IPC’s financial report for 2018 showed that both revenues and expenditures surpassed €24m ($26.1m) for the year. The report was the IPC’s first to cover the organisation’s major new collaboration agreement with the IOC, which runs from 2018 to 2032.

Parsons said the IPC is currently seeking to “solve our issues internally”, adding that it is not discussing further support from the IOC in the wake of the Paralympics postponement. “One immediate impact of the Games postponement is change of cashflow,” Parsons said.

He continued: “This week, we have nearly completed an exercise reviewing more than 150 contracts that are Games-related. One example is the broadcast partners. We won’t have the Games until 2021 so some of them have already requested if they can delay final payments to 2021, which of course we can understand. All of our partners have been hugely supportive.”

In 2018, the IPC expenses were up 10.7 per cent, to €24.1m, largely attributed to a doubling of expenditure on medical and scientific research activities, to €774,000, and rising staff costs, which reached nearly €4.5m, due to an increased headcount.

In the area of marketing and broadcasting fees from Paralympic Games organising committees, sponsorship and fundraising efforts, a total of €10.9m was generated in 2018.

The postponement of Tokyo’s Games comes after the IPC faced significant issues with the staging of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Rio 2016 needed a government bailout to fund its Paralympics, with a number of other issues affecting the Games.

Parsons said: “Until 2017 we were not receiving any direct funding from the IOC and we were surviving, thriving. We were delivering a very good Paralympic Games. We are not dependent on this amount coming directly from the IOC.”

However, Parsons said the postponement will allow more time to address a key challenge for Tokyo’s Games. The IPC has been working with local organisations to improve accessibility in the city, with the athletes’ village said to be short of the 850 accessible hotel rooms it needs for the Paralympics.

Parsons added: “When the Games finally begin next year we still want the Tokyo Olympics to be a catalyst for change in society. We must ensure this focus in not lost and cannot lose the focus on accessible accommodation.

“Some hotels were prepared to adjust and adapt and the postponement may mean they lose focus on that. It took a lot of time and effort to get this ball moving. We don’t want to go back because of the postponement.”