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IOC sets $800m fund to address virus

China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-05-15 09:51

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). [Photo/Agecies]

LAUSANNE, Switzerland-The International Olympic Committee said on Thursday it had created a fund of $800 million to tackle the financial hardships created by the novel coronavirus pandemic which has forced the postponement of this year's Tokyo Olympics until 2021.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the body had released "an envelope of up to $800 million to address the financial consequences of this COVID-19 crisis".

"We anticipate that we will have to bear costs of up to $800 million for our part, our responsibilities for the organization of the Games," he said at the end of the IOC's executive board meeting.

The envelope has two parts: $650 million which "refers to the costs for the organization "of the postponed Games for the IOC; and up to $150 million as an aid package for the Olympic movement, in particular international federations, national Olympic committees and IOC-recognized entities.

Bach said the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 300,000 people worldwide, had had "a very severe financial effect on the world, on society, on government and of course also on the Olympic Games, the entire Olympic movement and in particular the IOC".

The IOC and the Japanese government took the historic decision to postpone the Games, scheduled to open on July 24, until July 23 to Aug 8, 2021. It was the first peacetime postponement of the Games.

The postponement affects every aspect of the organization-the Olympic Athletes' Village, hotels, ticketing, venues and transport, being among the major headaches.

According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion, shared between the organizing committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.

Bach had warned last month that the postponement would cost the IOC "several hundred million dollars", adding that while the body would honor its financial obligations to Tokyo, it would probably have to make cuts.

But Bach was quick to scotch rumors that the postponed Games could be moved to another country depending on how the COVID-19 outbreak plays out.

"We are now working with full engagement on the success of Tokyo 2020 starting on July 23, 2021... To have the Games in a safe environment for all participants in Tokyo next year," he said.

"We are one year and two months away from these postponed Olympic Games. We should not perhaps fuel any speculation on any future developments now."

More than 90 vaccines are currently being developed globally, with eight in the clinical trial phase.


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