(Lausanne) The IOC Executive Board takes stock by videoconference on Thursday of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic which led to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics by one year, and must also validate the unprecedented holding of a session in July Virtual.
While some international federations based in Switzerland, such as FINA (swimming), have started a partial return of their employees to the office, teleworking still remains in force in many of them, notably at the International Olympic Committee.
As for the great conclaves, they also keep their distance. This will be the case in particular for the FIFA congress, initially scheduled for September in Addis Ababa and to be held "online" on September 18.
The 136th IOC session, originally scheduled on the eve of the opening of the Tokyo Olympics in July, will not escape it: the Olympic executive, meeting in videoconference around its president Thomas Bach, must validate Thursday held “remotely, via a secure electronic system”.
The Executive Board will also discuss the agenda for the session and how it will go, "including the secure electronic voting system".
The IOC cardinals will indeed have to rule on certain questions which are within their prerogatives and could in particular elect new members.
While FIFA President Gianni Infantino became a member last January, his World Athletics counterpart Briton Sebastian Coe was slated to be elected next July.
Sebastian Coe's turn?
This is what Mr. Bach had hinted at last December. If the candidacy of the n.1 of athletics had not been proposed for the session of January 2020, because of "the risks of conflict of interest", the door "remains open to Sebastian Coe for Tokyo", had thus explained the German boss of the Olympic movement.
Coe was accused of having continued as executive chairman of a sports marketing company, CSM Sport.
The Olympic deadlines have been totally disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic which has already claimed the lives of more than 290,000 people worldwide.
On March 24, the IOC announced a one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, a first for the modern-day Olympics in peacetime. The Tokyo Games are now rescheduled from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
But in late April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Tokyo Olympics would be "difficult" to organize if the coronavirus pandemic is not contained by the summer of 2021.
Thursday, for three hours, the Olympic government will thus analyze "the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis" on the Tokyo Olympics and in particular the budget, with a report by the dedicated working group, but also on the athletes, the federations international, national Olympic committees and rights holders.
The effects of the crisis on the finances of the IOC will also be discussed. At the end of April, Mr. Bach estimated that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics would represent an additional cost of "several hundred million dollars" for the IOC. The body, which employs around 600 people, "is reviewing (its) budget and (its) priorities," he added.