Bach calls for Olympic Movement to look into "proliferation of sports events" post-pandemic

Bach calls for Olympic Movement to look into "proliferation of sports events" post-pandemic

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Thomas Bach thanked all parties involved in the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games ©Getty Images

IOC President Thomas Bach called on the Olympic Movement to "look more closely into the proliferation of sports events" in an open letter on the coronavirus pandemic ©Getty Images

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has called on the Olympic Movement to "look more closely into the proliferation of sports events" in an open letter on the coronavirus pandemic.

With sport severely impacted by the pandemic, Bach wrote an open letter to the Olympic Movement to initiate a debate on the challenges and opportunities the situation presents.

In the letter, the 66-year-old seemed to suggest the need to streamline the sporting calendar, both within the IOC and in the wider sporting world.

"What is clear, however, is that probably none of us will be able to sustain every single initiative or event that we were planning before this crisis hit," he said.

"We will all need to take a close look at the scope of some of our activities and make the necessary adjustments to the new realities.

"In this context, the IOC administration is reviewing the IOC's budget and priorities.

"This review will shortly be presented to the IOC Executive Board for discussion and approval."

Bach reiterated this point further down in the letter.

"For the Olympic Movement as a whole, we may also have to look more closely into the proliferation of sports events, as we already discussed at previous Olympic Summits," he said.

"The financial pressure on all the stakeholders, including National Olympic Committees (NOC), International Federations (IF) and Organising Committees, may require more consolidation in this respect."

Thomas Bach wrote an open letter to the Olympic Movement to start a debate on the challenges and opportunities of the pandemic ©Getty Images

Thomas Bach wrote an open letter to the Olympic Movement to start a debate on the challenges and opportunities of the pandemic ©Getty Images

Throughout the letter, Bach also emphasised the need to imagine the post-pandemic world, and how the Olympic Movement will fit in it.

"As challenging and difficult as the circumstances may appear right now, if we draw the right lessons from the current situation, we can shape our future to even strengthen the relevance of our Olympic Movement in the world," he said.

"Therefore we should drive further the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, in particular with regard to sustainability, in order to address this crisis.

"To accomplish this, as a responsible organisation we should dare to look into the future of the world after this crisis.

"History tells us that significant crises or systemic shocks, like the coronavirus pandemic, have profound and far-reaching impacts on society at large.

"Therefore, we have to imagine in what kind of post-coronavirus world sport, the Olympic values and the Olympic Games will find themselves in."

With all sport suspended, many IFs have turned to hosting virtual events during the pandemic.

Bach acknowledged this and suggest it may have an impact on the relationship between the Olympic Movement and e-sports.

"We shall also have to consider what social distancing may mean for our relations with e-sports," he said.

"Some IFs have already been very creative by organising remote competitions.

"We should further strengthen these moves and encourage our joint working group to address this new challenge and opportunity."

The pandemic has already caused the postponement of Tokyo 2020, with the Olympics now set to take place from July 23 to August 8 2021, followed by the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5.

Bach thanked the parties involved in the postponement of Tokyo 2020, including NOCs, IFs and the IOC Athletes' Commission, before discussing the "unprecedented challenge" of organising a rescheduled Games, claiming that "solidarity, creativity, determination and flexibility" will be needed.

He confirmed that the IOC would continue to be responsible for its share of the costs for the postponed Games, although a final figure has not yet been decided on.

Bach finished the letter by proposing a "wide-ranging consultation among all of us under the guidance of the IOC Executive Board and the IOC Session".

"Let us take this opportunity in a way of unity and creativity to emerge from this crisis even stronger than before," he said.

"The post-coronavirus world will need sport, and we are ready to contribute to shaping it with our Olympic values." 

By Nancy Gillen-InsideTheGames 

 

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