GIANNI MERLO / AIPS president, Vigevano: The task force led by the International Olympic Committee’s John Coates and  Christophe Dubi has begun consultating international federations and the Tokyo 2020 organisers to determine the window in the 2021 international calendar in which the postponed Games  can be staged.
The task force – labelled ‘Here We Go’ – seems to be leaning towards two working hypotheses: the first is the April-May period and the second, the July-August period.

April-May would avoid major upheavals in the middle of summer and could count on practically perfect environmental conditions. In this case the marathon and race walk events could return to Tokyo, instead of being exported to Sapporo.

Thomas Bach . . . more difficult decisions ahead.

But it would collide with the interests of NBC, which amounts to billions of dollars.

In that time slot NBC will be focusing on the final stages of NBA and NCAA basketball. In addition, in that period of spring many classics are scheduled across various sports. They have been cancelled this year and probably would not be able to withstand postponement or further cancellation and risk ending their glorious history.

Calendar threat

A spring Olympics would also threatens some sports, such as athletics, with great difficulty because their world competitive activity would be virtually destroyed without providing time for some athletes to reach the entry standards for participation.

However, the problem of the Olympic qualification is important for all the federations, which have seen their tournaments postponed this year.

Hence July-August seems the simplest hypothesis, from a certain point of view, but it is equally complicated.

It is certainly encouraging that World Athletics and swimming’s FINA immediately made it known that they are willing to change the dates of their World Championships but other agreements must be made, because the calendar is choked with events.

Perhaps the choice of the second part of August could help. It would allow other events to move more easily and would not end up clashing with American football and professional sport. But of course there may be other complications, unknown as yet.

Costly business

There will be clashes, initially, over the cost of restaging.

The IOC holds an insurance contract, which also included the 33 federations concerned, which could come in handy, but logically it will not be enough.

President Thomas Bach, in his postponement announcement, made it clear that everyone will have to make sacrifices, but for now nobody knows what that means terms of the financial burden everyone will have to bear.