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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Postponed?

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Japan’s Olympic chief resigns over over corruption scandal in latest row to mar Tokyo Games

Julian Ryall

The embattled head of Japan’s Olympic Committee resigned on Tuesday amid a widening corruption investigation linked to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

With a little over a year to go until the opening ceremony for the Games, Tsunekazu Takeda announced during a meeting of the national Olympic committee in Tokyo that he would step down when his 10th term ends in June. 

Mr Takeda, 71, has denied any wrongdoing in the process of bidding for the 2020 Games and said he is cooperating with an investigation led by French authorities. 

Mr Takeda was placed under formal investigation by France’s financial crimes office on suspicion of “active corruption” on December 10, Le Monde reported. Prosecutors suspect that the IOC vote in 2013 was swayed by secret deals that secured the support of committee members from African states for Tokyo to host the games over Istanbul or Madrid.

French investigators began their probe in 2016 on suspicion that some $2 million was transferred in a series of transactions by the Tokyo Games’ bidding committee before and after the vote between a bank in Tokyo and a company in Singapore.

Prosecutors have allegedly linked the company, Black Tidings, to Papa Massata Diack, one of the sons of Lamine Diack, the Senegalese national who was a member of the IOC as well as president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) between 1995 and 2001.

Now 85, Mr Diack is presently being investigated in France on corruption charges and allegations that he and his son were involved in blackmailing athletes and covering up failed drug tests.

Papa Massata Diack is believed to be in Senegal, but French authorities have issued a wanted notice for him through Interpol.

In a phone interview with Kyodo News in December, Papa Massata Diack denied any wrongdoing or having links with Mr Takeda. He added that he had only met Mr Takeda twice - once to congratulate him for Tokyo winning the right to host the 2020 Games - and claimed that the Japanese capital’s bid was so superior to that of Istanbul that there was no need for Tokyo to pay to secure the votes it needed.

Papa Massata Diack said the investigation had been triggered by a power struggle with the world of sports and is racially motivated.

In statements, Mr Takeda has similarly denied any wrongdoing.

“The case is causing tremendous concern among people who are supporting the Tokyo Games, but I will continue to cooperate in the investigation in order to clear myself of any suspicion”, he said.

Mr Takeda has insisted that the money paid by the bidding committee was a legitimate cost for services provided by Black Tidings under a consultancy agreement. He has also denied knowing Lamine Diack.

The Japanese Olympic Committee has carried out its own internal investigation into the allegations and reported that it could find no irregularities.

Residents of the Japanese capital have expressed concern over the rising cost of the Games, while the local Olympic committee was forced to scrap the official logo for 2020 after a Belgian theatre accused the designer of plagiarism. 

The new national stadium for Tokyo 2020 was also at the centre of a plagiarism scandal, with the design form of the late British architect Dame Zaha Hadid accusing Kengo Kuma of incorporating her earlier work on the stadium into his subsequent blueprint. 




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Russia banned for four years to include the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup

Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and football's 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.

Wada's executive committee made the unanimous decision in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

It comes after Russia's Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

It had to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.

A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after the country was banned at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.


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IOC gave itself a 4-week deadline to make a decision on whether these games go ahead. I think they should be delayed, like the Euros, for a year. I don't see how it can realistically go ahead, starting in July, given the current coronavirus concerns around the world and with restriction of travel with no sign of it letting up. 

Canada have been the first country to withdraw athletes. I think they will be the first of many in the next few days/weeks to withdraw.




The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo have been thrown into further doubt after Canada became the first major country to withdraw.

Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has admitted for the first time that the games could be postponed.

Australia's team has said it is "clear" the games cannot go ahead, and told its athletes to prepare for a 2021 games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to decide the fate of the games in four weeks' time.

The games are currently due to begin on 24 July.

The country's Olympic and Paralympic committee said it had taken "the difficult decision" to withdraw after consulting athletes, sports groups, and the Canadian government.

It then "urgently called" on the IOC, International Paralympic Committee and World Health Organization, to postpone the games for a year.

"While we recognise the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," their statement said.

The Canadians later posted a message on Twitter saying: "Postpone today. Conquer tomorrow."

For weeks, Japanese officials have said the games will go ahead as planned.

But, speaking in parliament on Monday, Mr Abe admitted for the first time that Tokyo 2020 might have to be delayed.

"If it is difficult to hold [the games] in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable as we think the athletes' safety is paramount," he said.

But he insisted the games would not be cancelled altogether.

The Olympics have never been postponed or cancelled in peacetime. The 1940 Olympics - which were called off because of World War Two - were due to be held in Tokyo.

The IOC has said postponement is one "scenario" but insists that cancellation "would not solve any of the problems or help anybody".

In a letter to athletes, IOC president Thomas Bach said: "Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the games...

"At the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel."

On Monday, Australia told its athletes to prepare for an Olympics and Paralympics in the northern summer of 2021.

"It's clear the games can't be held in July," Australian chef-de-mission Ian Chesterman said.

On Sunday, the head of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, wrote to Mr Bach to say holding the games in July was "neither feasible nor desirable".

USA Track and Field has called for a postponement, as has the competitors' group Global Athlete.

"As the pandemic gets worse and worse and there are more and more societal restrictions put in place, I think the call needs to be made now," said British cyclist Callum Skinner, who fronts the Global Athlete.




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Tokyo 2021...




The 2020 Olympic Games will be postponed by one year because of coronavirus, says International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound.

It comes after the chairman of the British Olympic Association said Great Britain would be unlikely to send a team to Tokyo this summer.

Australia and Canada have already said they will not compete in Japan.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound told USA today.

"The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on 24 July, that much I know."

The International Olympic Committee has given itself four weeks to decide on the future of this summer's Games, but veteran IOC member Pound says a decision will be announced soon.

"It will come in stages," he said.

"We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense."



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