Sat | Jun 6, 2020

IOC says postponing Tokyo Olympics will cost it US$800M

Published:Thursday | May 14, 2020 | 2:55 PM
In this March 25, 2020, file photo, a man walks in front of a Tokyo Olympics logo at the Tokyo metropolitan government headquarters building in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

GENEVA (AP) — The IOC set aside US$800 million on Thursday for loans and payments arising from the pandemic that forced the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed.

It is still unclear how big the total postponement bill will be with Olympic organisers and public authorities in Japan facing extra costs estimated to run into billions of dollars.

“We anticipate that we will have to bear costs of up to US$800 million for our part of the responsibilities for the organisation of the games,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said.

A sum of US$150 million will be available to make loans to sports governing bodies and more than 200 eligible national Olympic committees.

They have cash flow issues while unable to organise events and were due to get payments this year for the Tokyo Games, which are now scheduled to open in July 2021.

The loan program is being run with Switzerland’s federal government, which announced aid Wednesday for Olympic sports federations based in the country.

The IOC will put up half the money for those loans, and federal and state authorities provide 25% each.

A detailed breakdown of how the remaining US$650 million could be allocated will be formulated in the months ahead, IOC chief operating officer Lana Haddad said.

“It is a little too early to pull together all known and unknown costs.” Haddad told reporters on a conference call after an IOC board meeting held remotely.

The IOC had revenue of US$5.7 billion from the 2013-16 Olympic cycle.

That figure would likely have approached US$7 billion for the next four-year period tied to the Tokyo Games.

Before the postponement, Japanese organisers officially said the bill for the games would be US$12.6 billion.

However, a government audit in 2019 said it was at least twice that, and most in taxpayer money.

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