Coronavirus: Olympics officially delayed; Champions League postponed

After weeks of speculation, the 2020 Olympics have officially been postponed. 

The decision was reached following talks between Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach.

A joint statement from the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee confirmed that “[the Games] must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

Though it will likely be rescheduled to 2021, both of the Olympics and Paralympics will still be referred to as the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The IOC wants to set a new date as soon as possible, with a ‘cherry blossom’ Games in April a possibility along with the typical date in the summer.

Bach said: “We have to see with them what the options are. After having consulted with them we also have to take into account the sporting calendar around the Olympic Games and many, many other issues. We should come to a solution as soon as possible, but first priority should be the quality of the decision, to really be able to take the input of all stakeholders into account.”

Responding to the news of the delay, Discovery – which holds the majority of the rights to the Olympics in Europe – said that it “fully supports the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee’s plan.”

The statement added: “Our essential planning and deliverables are complete and will now shift into next year. We will continue to develop our products and offerings to best serve our customers and marketing partners in 2021.”

It also remains to be seen how the delay will affect the planned launch of NBCUniversal’s Peacock streamer, which was set to use the Games as a central marketing tool. Digital TV Europe has reached out to NBCU for comment.

The Nikkei Asian Review has estimated that the Japanese economy could lose up to ¥700 billion (€5.84 billion) due to the postponement.

Champions League pushback

Uefa has confirmed the indefinite delay of the women’s and men’s 2020 Champions League finals along with the Europa League final.

The announcement comes after the body postponed the Euro 2020 men’s and Euro 2021 women’s tournaments.

In a statement, Uefa said that it “has formally taken the decision to postpone the club finals originally scheduled for May 2020.”

The body added that it has not made a decision on a rearranged date, but that a working group chaired by UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin, will “analyse the options available,” and that the group has “already begun its examination of the calendar.”

The postponement of the international Euros has freed up the summer to wrap up club competitions like the English Premier League, though the extra burden of European competition will weigh heavily on clubs who will likely be forced to play more matches over a shorter period of time.

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