Dubai: The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is scheduled to meet later on Thursday.
Among the several points on the agenda, perhaps the most important ones will be the financial consequences of the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics along with an update on the planning process for the re-arranged Games.
An update is also expected to be delivered to the Executive Board from the IOC’s own task force, set-up to address the numerous challenges arising from the one-year delay to Tokyo 2020. Additional costs stemming from the first postponement of an Olympic and Paralympic Games are set to be among the main areas covered.
This issue was at the centre of a public dispute between the IOC and Tokyo 2020 last month following comments posted on the IOC’s website, which said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had agreed to foot the bill for the additional expenses.
While Japan is obligated to cover added costs in the Host City Contract for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics it signed with the IOC in 2013, the subject is a touchy one in the nation, due to the impact of the virus on the economy.
The IOC and Tokyo 2020 last month established a joint steering committee to deliver the postponed Olympic Games, with a view to providing an updated road map by the end of May. It is now more than likely that this new road map for the Games will be discussed by the Executive Board later on Thursday.
And rightly, much of the focus will be on the planning for Tokyo 2020 that’s been pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A number of International Federations (IFs) representing sports included on the Tokyo 2020 programme are facing cash flow challenges of varying degrees of severity as a result of the one-year postponement.
Some of these have even requested the IOC for an advance on their payment, while others — the International Handball Federation and the International Weightlifting Federation — have told the organisation it does not require money ahead of time.
So it is but consequential that stakeholders such as the IFs will be keenly following developments from the meeting and will be hoping for further clarity on issues including venues and their share of Games revenue which they would have normally received from the IOC in September.
In the meantime, the IOC has been meeting individually with federations to discuss their financial situation in recent weeks.
Other topics on the agenda on Thursday include the IOC Athletes’ Commission elections, which had been due to take place had the Games been held as planned this year — these are expected to be postponed until 2021 — and the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic for TOP sponsors and rights-holding broadcasters.
Hopefully, a lot of things will be a lot clearer by the end of day.