Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee says a great number of National Organising Committees will be put in a ‘big hole’ financially should the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games set for next year fail to come off.
On Wednesday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said he understood why the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games would have to be cancelled if it cannot take place next summer.
This after local organisers said they have no back-up plan after the event was postponed by a year because of the coronavirus crisis.
“You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee,” Bach told BBC Sport. “You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Bach also admitted the job of re-organising the Games was “a mammoth task”; warned that the event would “definitely be different” with a focus on “essentials”; would not be drawn on whether a vaccine for Covid-19 would be needed for the event to take place and insisted staging the Games behind closed doors was “not what we want”, but he needs more time to consider whether that was feasible
Bach said he hoped the first-ever postponed Games, which are due to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021, could prove “unique” and send “a message of solidarity among the entire world, coming for the first time together again, and celebrating the triumph over coronavirus”.
“There is no blueprint for it so we have to reinvent the wheel day by day. It’s very challenging and at the same time fascinating.”
With regards to finding a vaccine Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted it may be “difficult” to stage the Games if the country does not successfully contain the virus, and the head of the Japan Medical Association suggested it depends on finding a vaccine.
When asked directly if he agreed, Bach said: “For this question, we are relying on the advice of the World Health Organisation.
“We have established one principle: to organise these Games in a safe environment for all the participants. Nobody knows what the world will look like in one year, in two months.
“So we have to rely on [experts] and then take the appropriate decision at the appropriate time based on this advice.”
Commenting on the issue, Lewis stated: “Within recent days the IOC president has indicated that if the Olympics can’t be held next year it will be cancelled.
“That will have a significant and tremendous negative impact on the business and funding model of the Olympic movement and if that should happen it will put some NOC’s in a big hole.
“And if that should happen the T&TOC will also find itself facing some difficulties and challenges. So there is real “grey cloud” ahead given the uncertainties and realities of covid19.
“But that having been said, the TTOC we have been engaged in several discussions in terms of pivoting and looking at ways to adjust and prepare for the post COVID-19 reality.
“We are looking at some strategic initiatives which are aimed at providing the Olympic Committee with sustainable revenue streams given the new normal of what we anticipate will be the post-covid19 world.
Asked what long term impact it may have on the local governing body, Lewis said he was confident that they will be able to weather the storm.
He added, “Since 2013 we have been focusing strategic attention on transforming and modernising the TTOC’s marketing model and in many ways that have proven very successful and we will need to build on some of those initiatives and the diversification of the TTOC’s revenue stream.
“We are remaining very proactive and it’s important to remain that proactive, innovative and creative,” ended Lewis.