Bach re­minds Tokyo to stick with cur­rent venue plans

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -

TOKYO » IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach ex­pressed will­ing­ness Tues­day to work with Tokyo of­fi­cials to achieve a “sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion” in costs for the 2020 Olympics, but sug­gested the ef­fort should stick to the cur­rent venue plans.

Bach ar­rived in Ja­pan amid grow­ing ten­sion be­tween Olympic or­ga­niz­ers and re­cently elected Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who is push­ing to cut costs. A pre­lim­i­nary re­port from a city ex­pert panel late last month pro­posed mov­ing three sports from planned new venues to ex­ist­ing ones — in­clud­ing re­lo­cat­ing row­ing to a site hun­dreds of miles out­side the cap­i­tal.

Bach re­minded the gov­er­nor that Tokyo should re­spect the agree­ment it signed when it was awarded the games three years ago.

“I think it is in the in­ter­est of Ja­pan, Tokyo and IOC that we do not change the rules of the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter the elec­tion,” Bach said. “By re­spect­ing these prin­ci­ples we can very well look into the bud­get of Tokyo 2020 and we can look at the cost. We can see to­gether how we can make it even more fea­si­ble.”

Bach pro­posed four-party talks among the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, Tokyo or­ga­niz­ers, the city gov­ern­ment and Ja­pan’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment to agree on ad­di­tional cost re­duc­tions, start­ing as early as Novem­ber af­ter Tokyo re­leases a fi­nal re­port. Bach de­clined to dis­cuss spe­cific pro­pos­als, say­ing he only knew about them from me­dia re­ports.

“The Tokyo metropoli­tan gov­ern­ment will fi­nal­ize its in­ter­nal study, then we’ll dis­cuss it with the other stake­hold­ers ... and then I am con­fi­dent that you will see a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the cost com­pared to what we have seen so far from the press,” Bach told re­porters af­ter a 40-minute tele­vised meet­ing with Koike.

The Tokyo panel’s pre­lim­i­nary re­port said the over­all cost of the Olympics could ex­ceed $30 bil­lion — four times the ini­tial es­ti­mate — un­less dras­tic cuts are made.

The re­view fo­cuses on whether each venue can be cost-ef­fec­tive while also con­trib­ute to the re­con­struc­tion of the area hit by the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima dis­as­ter.

“That’s how we have pro­moted to at­tract the games,” Koike said.

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