Tokyo Olympics: Big warning to IOC from World Players Association, “world-class Covid-19 protections must be guaranteed”

Tokyo Olympics: IOC
Tokyo Olympics: IOC "must urgently guarantee world-class Covid-19 protections" if this year's Games are to be held safely, warned WPA

Tokyo Olympics: Big warning to IOC from World Players Association- Ahead of the debated Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has received a request from the World Players Association (WPA) to “urgently guarantee world-class Covid-19 protections” if this year’s Games are to be held safely.

IOC protocols “lack the same rigour and resources” seen in professional team sports, says the WPA, which represents athletes globally. Tokyo is set to host the Games, delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic. But the city is under a state of emergency because of a rise in cases.

Tokyo Olympics: Big warning to IOC from World Players Association- That state of emergency is set to remain in place until the end of May, with the Olympics scheduled to start on 23 July. Brendan Schwab, the WPA’s executive director, said: “Despite having the benefit of time, knowledge and experience to prepare for this year’s Olympics, it is alarming that so close to the planned opening, the IOC’s measures fall so far behind the required standards.

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“Given significant concerns over new and more harmful [coronavirus] variants and a vastly inconsistent global vaccine rollout, the IOC must urgently guarantee world class Covid-19 protections at the Games.”

Tokyo Olympics: Big warning to IOC from World Players Association- Organisers have created playbooks that lay out guidelines for the games including daily testing. On Wednesday, IOC president Thomas Bach said that he would ease the burden on local medical systems during the Tokyo Olympics.

He added that national Olympic committees will be asked to arrange their own medical staff where possible and that the Games will be safe for the Japanese public. Also speaking on Wednesday, the Swedish Olympic Committee’s chief executive Peter Reinebo said the Games could “become a turning point in the global pandemic”.

Reinebo added, “I think that Tokyo 2020 and the IOC have done a fantastic job in creating these bubbles and the testing programme in a way that feels safe and secure.”

Tokyo and several regions of Japan were under a state of emergency as a test event was staged at an empty Olympic stadium earlier this month, while a small protest took place outside, calling for the Games to be cancelled.