Sat | Mar 28, 2020

JOA on solid ground – Samuda - Olympic postponement has minimal financial impact on local body

Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2020 | 12:19 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter

Christopher Samuda, the president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), affirmed that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games will have minimal financial implication on the association, as its business structure is set up to withstand setbacks like the one it now faces.

Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee announced that Tokyo Olympics 2020 is now Tokyo Olympics 2021, as it gave in to widespread cries for the Games to be postponed because of the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

With the Games set to be held a year later than expected, some stakeholders will have to extend their budgets to facilitate preparation for the additional year.

Samuda, an attorney-at-law, told THE STAR that the JOA’s contractual agreements allow for it to come out or renegotiate without any financial loss.

“I would say that the financial setback will be very minimal because we, as an association, have a business model that really protects us against haemorrhage. We always plan for the unforeseen,“ Samuda said. “What we have done is ensure that our contractual arrangements allow in cases of this nature, to either come out or to renegotiate. We have not made a significant financial investment in the Games from that perspective.”

In February, the JOA announced that the Japanese government was set to host team Jamaica for its pre-Olympic training camp in the Tottori Prefecture.

“We haven’t made any loss as it relates to camps. We have a strong relationship with the Tottori Prefecture. The terms of the contract permit them to host us, and I am sure that it will not be a significant disruption for them at all. We will have the camp in Tottori before the Olympic Games,” he explained.

Though he promised that the association will continue to support those sports that are still seeking qualification to participate in the Games in the extended sporting year, Samuda does not think it will cost the association any more than it was prepared for.

“I do not think that it will affect our budget for the next Olympic cycle. Of course, we will have to reorganise our budget. Teams and people who have already qualified for the Games, that’s it; and those who are waiting in the wings to qualify, we will have to extend (their support). We have not done so as yet because of the crisis, so when you look at it from that perspective, it is not going to really affect us. Our business model is such that we can absorb shocks, and this is not really a shock,” Samuda said.

Meanwhile, Samuda welcomes the move by the IOC to push back the Games as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it is the right decision, given all the factors and the virus that is affecting us globally. The JOA has always maintained that the welfare of the athletes, coaches and managers are very critical, and, therefore, I welcome the decision to postpone it,” Samuda stated.

The IOC said the Tokyo Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than the summer of 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community”.

Athletes from across the globe called for the postponement of the Games as they were facing tight scheduling to meet the qualifying standards, as sport has come to a halt across the world because of the outbreak of the virus.