The latest version of the International Olympic Committee’s Covid-19 Playbook for athletes released yesterday falls well short of the best practice measures urgently required to ensure public and athlete trust and confidence in the measures proposed for the Games, says the World Players Association.
Only last week, World Players released Best Practice Measures to Protect Public and Athlete Health at the Tokyo Olympics. The guidance (summarised here) contained a number of measures that have been implemented in professional team sports to effectively mitigate against the spread of Covid-19.
Japan is currently in a state of emergency. It has almost 53,000 active cases, compared to approximately 850 at the time the Games were postponed in March 2020. Globally, there are now almost 19 million active cases compared with around 388,500 when the Games were postponed, and this comes amidst growing concerns over new more harmful variants and a vastly inconsistent global vaccine roll-out.
World Players Association Executive Director Brendan Schwab said:
“Athletes worldwide demand and deserve an environment at the Olympics that they can trust and have confidence knowing that the public health effort in Japan and globally will not be undermined, athlete health and safety will be protected and the integrity of sporting competitions unaffected by Covid-19. The Playbook fails to deliver that trust and confidence.
“It is simply unacceptable that the Playbook makes athletes assume the risks arising from their participation at the Games and does not provide full and comprehensive insurance for all related risks.
“Other key gaps include reliance on a bug-ridden app for contact tracing, making athletes responsible for their own supply of masks, and having athletes share rooms. Many questions also remain unanswered in relation to proper athlete treatment and care, education, sport specific measures and the precise steps being implemented in stadia, dining areas and other indoors environments to ensure safe and secure participation at the Games.
“World Players will continue to work with its affiliates and public health and other experts to promote properly resourced, rigorous and effective public and athlete health measures for the Olympics. We continue to remain available for meaningful dialogue with the IOC.”
Full analysis of the latest athlete Playbook against existing best practice will be provided soon.