17 March 2020
IOC discussed the upcoming Tokyo Olympics with international federations
Today the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a conference call with the leaders of the summer sports federations on the spread of coronavirus and the forced cancellation of qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
In the upcoming days, this issue will be discussed in the same format with representatives of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), athletes, the International Paralympic Committee and other interested parties. Following a meeting with international federations, the IOC published the following statement on its official website:
The situation with coronavirus has had an impact on all areas of human activity, including the preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The IOC asks all interested parties, within their competencies, to do everything possible to assist in curbing the spread of the virus.
We still have no doubt that the 2020 Games will take place. More than four months remain before they start. At this stage, there is no need to make any radical decisions. Any speculation about canceling competitions is counterproductive. We urge all athletes to continue preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games with utmost diligence.
The IOC is confident that the measures taken by authorities around the world will help stabilize the epidemiological situation. In this context, we welcome the support from the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7).
In preparing for the Olympic Games, we will continue to be guided by the principles of protecting the health of all participants, curbing the spread of the virus and defending the interests of athletes and Olympic sports.
The IOC maintains close contacts with representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), the authorities of Tokyo, the Japanese government and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, all part of the working group set up in February.
In order to verify the infrastructure of the upcoming competitions, the format of all testing events in March and April was changed. In particular, the ceremony of lighting the Olympic flame, as well as the torch relays throughout Greece and then Japan.
Particular attention will be paid to the visit of the Coordination Commission to the capital of Japan. Despite the fact that the trip will take place on earlier planned dates, communication between the IOC representatives and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee will be carried out in the form of telephone conferences.
Currently, Olympic athletes are facing serious challenges related to qualifying for the 2020 Games. In some countries, they cannot even continue regular training. The IOC is confident, however, that by joining efforts athletes, federations and NOCs will be able to find a solution to this problem.
Today, 57 percent of athletes have already qualified for the Olympic Games. As for the remaining places, the IOC will work with international federations to make the necessary changes to the selection procedure for the 2020 Olympics, guided by the following principles:
1. All quotas won as of today by athletes and NOCs remain unchanged.
2. Qualification will be based on the results of existing and planned qualifying competitions, to which fair access will be provided for all athletes and teams.
3. All necessary changes to qualification procedures, as well as the distribution of remaining places, will:
- a) be based on current results (for example, the ratings of international federations or previously achieved results);
- b) reflect the current principles of the relevant qualification systems (for example, using the ratings or results of continental/regional competitions).
The possibility of increasing the number of quotas will be considered together with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee for each individual case as an exceptional measure.
International federations will be able to make proposals for adapting qualification systems based on the principles outlined above. The IOC has already introduced an expedited procedure in order to resolve this situation. Any necessary changes in the selection procedure for the Tokyo Olympic Games in various sports will be published in early April 2020 and will be relayed to all interested parties.
IOC President Thomas Bach:
– The health and well-being of everyone involved in preparing for the Tokyo Olympics is our top priority. Numerous measures are being taken to ensure the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and team personnel. We are an Olympic community. We support each other in favorable and difficult times.
President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) Francesco Ricci Bitti:
– I would like to thank everyone who is involved in organizing the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as athletes and international federations for their flexibility. We adhere to the same approach and the same principles as the IOC. We, just as the IOC, are looking forward to successful Games in Tokyo. We will stay in touch and conduct further consultations with all interested parties.