The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics until the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic will not have any effect on future bids to hold the Games, a key member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said today.
In an online seminar organised by the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS), Pierre Ducrey, Olympic Games Operations Director, said: "No honestly, it’s not a concern.
"I think that people that are interested in Olympic bids today, they are doing that for reasons that are really centred on legacy and opportunity for their countries.
"This is just a factor that needs to be considered.
"It is today possible – and we know it – that circumstances can create big challenges to the delivery of the event according to the planned schedule.
"This is a reality. Everybody will have to factor it in. But it doesn’t change any of the incredible legacies that can be created by a successful Olympic project.
"I think our partners recognise that and as part of the new process we will continue to have constructive conversations with candidatures.
"I don’t believe the discussions on Tokyo and what happened would be a negative influence."
Ducrey was asked about arrangements for the Athletes Village, and specifically whether it would be safe for athletes to share rooms, and whether individual rooms were now being considered.
"Of course we have to look at that," he said.
"If you put health at the centre of what you do you need to be mindful of what will be the right way to host the athletes in the Village.
"First we are looking at securing the Village, and discussions are going very well. But this is still something to be finalised.
"But inside the Village we are looking at the number of scenarios we have to work to. If we are in the scenario where COVID-19 is still prevalent then we are going to have to make some adjustments to our policies.
"It is too early to say it will be like this or like that.
"What we need to create is answers to all the different scenarios so that we can make sure the Village is a safe place to be.
"I mention elements that will be part in any case of our plan, and particularly in relation to the Athletes Village, you will want to have the highest level of cleaning and sanitising, you will want to have policies for the management of food and beverages that are impeccable.
"All of these we are already working on with the Organising Committee, trying to make sure the parameters that give confidence that you are in a safe place and that this has been taken care of in the right way will be in place no matter what.
"So on this we can already work in a very definitive way.
"On the other aspects it’s really about understanding what are the measures that respond to an evolution that goes in direction A, or direction B, or direction C."
"And those scenarios we are obviously discussing with the relevant authorities in Japan, the World Health Organisation and other experts to make sure we are doing things in the right way."
Asked to comment on reports that not all volunteers accepted for the 2020 Games will be available to assist in 2021, Ducrey said: "One of the reasons why we felt summer was the best option was that it allows people who are meant to have free time over the summer to still have that free time then.
"A lot of the volunteers are students so it is important for us to consider.
"We have had some discussions with the Organising Committee regarding volunteers. The number that Tokyo was assembling was very large. It has a little bit of space in it, I think, to face what could be some level of attrition with people not being available any more.
"But if the interest demonstrated in those positions is any sign of what could be the attrition, we have a feeling that next summer we will still see a lot of people wanting to come and support the Games in their own way.
"Of course we are watching this closely because it is very central to a successful delivery.
"But at this point in time we don’t have a signal that the attrition level will be something we have to worry about."