The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government have formally agreed to postpone the Olympic Games until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Paralympics are also postponed.
Late yesterday the President of the IOC Thomas Bach (pictured) held a conference call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Olympic organisers following the ongoing health crisis crippling nations and disrupting athlete training.
There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
In a joint statement, organisers said, “In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.
“It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
The decision marks the first time the Olympics has been so impacted since the cancellation in 1940-44 due to World War II. Canada and Australia had already announced their withdrawal from any 2020 event.
The news is another major blow to Seven’s schedule, but the network had been expecting it for some time, despite talking up the opportunities for advertisers. Seven had been counting on the Games in July / August to promote its upcoming content.
But there could also be a silver lining if Seven is due for a refund. At present any multi-million dollar refund that comes back to Seven would go some way to addressing its own corporate crisis of debt and shares at record lows.