"If you have to go through quarantine to have safe Games, you will pass"

If athletes must pass a quarantine before participating in the Olympic Games next year in Tokyo, as long as these are played in a safe environment, "they will have to pass it," he said this Wednesday. the President of the IOC the German Thomas Bach .

09/09/2020 at 22:02



"Athletes have a responsibility to their health and to that of others. In this pandemic, individual interests cannot be looked at. Sacrifices will be necessary on the part of all. It is everyone's responsibility, Nobody can think if it is fair or not (to be quarantined) ", Bach stressed during a press videoconference, at the end of a telematic meeting of the IOC Executive Commission.

Last week the organizing committee of Tokyo 2020 suggested that athletes entering Japan could be exempted from quarantine, in exchange for certain restrictions on their mobility.

The president of the IOC confessed from Lausanne (Switzerland) that, beyond guaranteeing safe Games for all participants, the sports body is unable to specify today how will be the scenario in which the competition will take place. "The situation changes almost daily. Travel restrictions are one of the changing circumstances that has, for example, a direct impact on our planning," noted Bach .

"Our task is to prepare the different scenarios, without knowing which one will be in force next year. It is not easy. Social distance is one of the considerations, of course. We are also very attentive to what happens with the rapid tests and vaccines, which will have an effect on preparations. We are optimistic, according to our conversations with the WHO and with pharmaceutical companies, but it is too early to give a concrete answer ", he insisted.

Thomas Bach considers that within a year "the scenario will be different from the current one, but we don't know", he said, "in what way" . For this reason, he added, the experience of competitions that are now played without an audience, such as the United States Tennis Open, "is not transferable" to the Games and to a hypothetical celebration with reduced capacity in the stands, or perhaps limited to the arrival of foreign fans.

"Right now, I'm sorry, I'm not in a position to give concrete answers. How can we expect us to know how the world is going to be in 320 days? ", he asked. Neither can it be specified, he said, a deadline to decide how the Games will be played. "I don't know anything about deadlines, for the reasons stated," he commented.


Regarding the possibility that the IOC agrees to make Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter more flexible in Tokyo, which prohibits athletes from making political demonstrations in sports venues, the president said that the consultations with athletes "they are still going" and that neither he nor the Executive are going to interfere in the process. But he pointed out that the Games, by uniting athletes from 206 countries, "are the largest manifestation against discrimination in the world".

"In addition, we go further, because for us it is not just about tolerating diversity, but about trying to remedy discrimination with solidarity. This makes the Games so special and is what they have appreciated so many who have fought for equality, including Mohamed Ali, "Bach said when asked about the involvement of athletes in the Black Lives Matter movement.


Thomas Bach appealed to the "political neutrality" of the body that he presides so as not to pronounce on the repressive policy against the Belarusian opposition undertaken by the country's president, Alexandr Lukashenko who it is also part of its National Olympic Committee.

In the same way avoided ruling on the death sentence in Iran of the fighter Navid Afkarí for an alleged murder committed during the protests in 2018. The confession of the crime, according to human rights associations, was obtained under torture. But Bach said that the IOC is in contact with the Iranian Olympic committee and their wrestling federation "and they are both doing everything they can to find a solution to this case." "Given the circumstances, I cannot give more details," he said.


Bach reported the approval by the Executive, "after an intense discussion", of a 'Certificate of International Officer of Safeguarding in Sport', with the idea of ​​strengthening the prevention of harassment and abuse in sport . The certificate will be obtained after a five-month educational course that will begin in September 2021.

Earlier next month, 11 webinars will be delivered for National Olympic Committees in four languages, to address "the cultural challenges they face in developing athlete protection initiatives." A campaign to achieve abuse-free sport on the road to Tokyo 2020 will complement the IOC's initiatives in this matter.