IOC gets official look at simplification for Tokyo Olympics

IOC gets official look at simplification for Tokyo Olympics
The executive board of the International Olympic Committee is expected to review the proposed cuts on Wednesday. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 October 2020

IOC gets official look at simplification for Tokyo Olympics

IOC gets official look at simplification for Tokyo Olympics
  • Organizers and the IOC say they had already slashed several billion dollars in costs before the Olympics were postponed
  • Tokyo and the IOC have not offered an estimate of the savings

TOKYO: The IOC and local organizers are trying to “simplify” the postponed Tokyo Olympics, promising to save money in what one study says is already the most expensive Summer Olympics on record.
The executive board of the International Olympic Committee is expected to review the proposed cuts on Wednesday. They include about 50 changes to fringe areas that leave the number of athletes — 15,400 for the Olympics and Paralympics — and all sports events untouched for next year.
Also largely untouched will be the opening and closing ceremonies, the heavily sponsored 121-day torch relay, and competition areas that will be seen on television broadcasts. This means the so-called field of play, and areas immediately adjacent.
Some of the proposed cuts listed in a detailed document from the organizers include: fewer decorative banners; a 10-15% reduction in “stakeholders” delegation sizes; five fewer international interpreters from a staff of 100; fewer shuttle buses; reduction in hospitality areas; suspension in production of mascot costumes; cancelation of official team welcome ceremonies.
Big savings are not easy to find.
Organizers and the IOC say they had already slashed several billion dollars in costs before the Olympics were postponed six months ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included moving events to existing venues rather than building new facilities.
Most of the big-ticket spending had already taken place, such as the $1.43 billion national stadium, and the $520 million swimming venue.
“We have many measures, and sometimes they look small. But when you take them all together it will represent a large result in terms of both simplification and hopefully ... produce some significant savings,” Christophe Dubi, the IOC executive director for the Olympic Games, said late last month when the plans were presented in Tokyo.
Dubi said a search for more cuts would continue.
Tokyo and the IOC have not offered an estimate of the savings, but estimates in Japan put them at 1-2% of official spending of $12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said the real cost of the Olympics might be twice that much.
All of the costs for putting on the Olympics come largely from public money with the exception of $5.6 billion from a privately financed local operating budget. About 60% of the income in this budget — $3.3 billion — comes from payments from 68 domestic sponsors.
Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto acknowledged last month for the first time that some sponsors have backed out in the midst of a slumping economy, the pandemic, and uncertainty around the Olympics really happening.
“I can’t say that all contracts have been renewed,” he said.
Any shortfall in this privately funded operating budget will have to be made up from somewhere else. The document handed out last month by organizers showed them considering “measures to increase” donations to make up for lost income.
To keep sponsors on board, the IOC and local organizers have talked confidently in the last several months about the Olympics opening as planned on July 23, 2021.
Yoshiro Mori, the president of the organizing committee, acknowledged last month that some were hoping for more cuts, while others will be satisfied with the modest savings.
“It’s like a glass half-filled, or half empty,” he said. “We wanted to save, but there were so many thing that have already been determined.”
Organizers have said it won’t be until the end of the year, or early in 2021, when detailed steps will be announced about how to hold the Olympics in the midst of a pandemic. This will include decisions about attendance by local fans, non-Japanese fans, and rules under which athletes will enter Japan, vaccines, quarantines, and so forth.
Japan has reported about 1,600 deaths from COVID-19 and has had strict entry rules in place for citizens from 159 countries.


Milan, Inter look to bounce back in last-eight derby cup

Milan, Inter look to bounce back in last-eight derby cup
Updated 26 January 2021

Milan, Inter look to bounce back in last-eight derby cup

Milan, Inter look to bounce back in last-eight derby cup
  • Ibrahimovic returned for Milan this month after seven weeks out injured, scoring a brace against Cagliari

MILAN: Milan’s giants will do battle in the Italian Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday after a disappointing weekend of Serie A action for Italy’s top two teams.

League leaders AC Milan were swept away 3-0 by Atalanta at the San Siro on Saturday, at the same time as second-placed Inter Milan could only manage a goalless draw at Udinese which leaves them two points behind their city rivals.

The teams’ star strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku, who have each bagged 12 goals this league campaign, both drew a blank at the weekend but will be hoping for more from the second meeting this season between the two teams.

Milan’s veteran forward Ibrahimovic scored a brace the last time they met in a 2-1 league win in October, with Lukaku also netting for Inter.

Ibrahimovic returned for Milan this month after seven weeks out injured, scoring a brace against Cagliari, and is looking for his first Cup goal of the season.

Lukaku headed in an extra-time winner against Fiorentina in the last 16, but the Belgium forward has failed to score in Inter’s last four league games.

Their trophy hopes now lie on domestic success after their early European exit.

“Winning the Scudetto and qualifying for the Champions League would be significant for Inter, but the Italian Cup is a trophy that we respect,” said coach Antonio Conte.

“We won’t be taking it lightly and will try to win, as we always do.”

Inter’s last major trophy was the 2011 Italian Cup, while Milan — who last won the league that same year — have not tasted success in the competition since 2003.

Making it through to the last four by beating such strong opposition on Tuesday would be huge after their limp defeat by Atalanta.

“The Italian Cup derby could bring us to the semifinals but above all it’s an opportunity to immediately turn the page and avoid a difficult emotional crisis,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli.

Holders Napoli are also looking for a lift Thursday as they take on Serie A newcomers Spezia, who dumped Roma out of the tournament last week.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side lost the Italian Super Cup to Juventus last week and fell 3-1 at Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday.

Juventus, winners of four of the last six Italian Cups, take on the only Serie B side remaining, SPAL.

Atalanta — whose only major trophy was the Italian Cup in 1963 — host Lazio, winners in 2019, with the two sides set for a return trip again next weekend in the league.

Winners go through to a two-legged semifinal on February 3 and 10, with the final on May 19.