Tokyo 2020

Bach: 2021 Olympics 'not restricted to summer months'

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OLYMPIA, GREECE - MARCH 12: IOC President Thomas Bach addresses during the Olympic flame lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia, ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on March 12, 2020 in ancient Olympia. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Image credit: Getty Images

ByEurosport UK
25/03/2020 at 11:33 | Updated 25/03/2020 at 12:45

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach says the rescheduled Olympics are “not restricted to summer months", but finding the right time in the calendar will be a “challenging question”.

The decision was made on Tuesday to postpone the Tokyo Games until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a number of other events also set to be rescheduled, including the European Championships, there could be a crowded sporting calendar next year.

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While the Euros have been pushed back almost exactly by a year, that might not be the case with the Olympics.

“We have to see with them what the options are,” said IOC president Bach. “After having consulted with them we also have to take into account the sporting calendar around the Olympic Games and many many other issues.

“We should come to a solution as soon as possible, but first priority should be the quality of the decision, to really be able to take the input of all stakeholders into account.

The agreement is that we want to organise these Games at the latest in the summer 2021. This is not restricted just to the summer months. All the options are on the table including the summer 2021.

Bach said he could not guarantee all elements of the Games would remain as initially planned.

He said he did not know what would happen with the athletes' village, where apartments were set to be sold after the Games this year.

"This is one of the many thousands of questions this task force will have to address. We hope and we will do whatever we can so that there is an Olympic village, the village is where the heart of the Games beat," he said.

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Bach and the IOC had come under criticism for not reacting sooner as the coronavirus swept the globe.

He says the focus was originally on how Japan would handle the Games, but the mood changed at the weekend when the IOC saw the spread of the virus in Africa and other parts of the world.

“This was the moment when we saw this on Sunday morning I called an emergency meeting of the IOC executive board with the aim to open a discussion with our Japanese hosts and partners and friends to start opening a discussion about the postponement of the Games.

“We could not manage such a postponement without the support of Japan.

“We had at the very beginning of this crisis a clear focus on the development in Japan, where we had always to evaluate whether Japan would be in a position to offer a safe environment for every participant.

“This focus then shifted more and more to the international world because we could see on the one hand the progress being made in Japan fighting the virus and the efficiency of the measures being taken, but we also had to see on the other side that the virus was spreading so rapidly that it became more and more a question whether the world could travel to Japan and whether Japan could afford, in the spirit of containing the virus, to really invite the world.”

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