UPDATE SUNDAY MARCH 22: Various media outlets, citing sources in the Japanese government, indicate that several plans for a postponed Olympics are now under consideration. No details have been provided and no official word from the government has been issued.
EARLIER: The chorus to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is growing, as national Olympics committees and sports governing bodies have asked the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government for a delay.
The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committees are the latest body to call for the postponement, joining a list that includes Brazil, Slovenia, US Swimming and US Track & Field, who have already made their views publicly known. The Brazil Olympic Committee has called for the Tokyo Games to be postponed for a year, citing “the notorious worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic” and “the consequent difficulty for athletes to maintain their best competitive level.”
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled from July 24 to Aug. 9, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.
Toshiaki Endo, a vice president of the Tokyo Games organizing committee, said in response to Norway’s request, “The organizing committee is not at the point where we need a decision on whether to cancel or postpone the games. The IOC will make the final decision. We will prepare thoroughly for the games’ opening in July.”
One problem with staging the games on schedule is the matter of qualifications. So far, only about 57 percent of athletes have qualified, according to the IOC. Many qualifications events have been postponed because of the coronavirus.
In the event of a postponement or cancellation, fans who have bought tickets and want a refund may be out of luck.
Ticket refunds are considered unlikely, according to Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. The event can invoke its “public health emergency” clause, which doesn’t leave them liable on the 5 million tickets sold for the Olympics or the 1.7 million for the Paralympics. The two events have sold an estimated $83 million in tickets.
“Tokyo 2020 shall not be liable for any failure to perform any obligation under the Terms and Conditions to the extent that the failure is caused by a Force Majeure,” reads a section in the terms and conditions for the Games.
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