The IOC must urgently guarantee world class Covid-19 protections for the Tokyo Olympics


The IOC must urgently guarantee world class Covid-19 protections for the Tokyo Olympics

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) must urgently guarantee world class Covid-19 protections if the Tokyo Olympics – less than 10 weeks away – are to be safely held, the World Players Association said today.

At a minimum this requires the IOC to review and upgrade ventilation systems, reduce crowding of venues and accommodation facilities, implement much more rigorous and effective testing, supply masks to athletes, and revoke the demand that athletes sign waivers as a condition of their involvement at the Games.

Additional requirements include ensuring athletes are comprehensively insured, precise physical distancing measures for indoor areas and common spaces, and providing the necessary flexibility to complete competitions which are almost certain to be disrupted by the virus.

Without these precautions, athletes will continue to lack the trust and confidence that is essential to the safe and successful conduct of the Games.

World Players Association Executive Director Brendan Schwab, 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. The IOC points to the return to play of professional team sports as one reason for hope that the Olympics can be safely held. Yet its protocols lack the same rigour and resources. Given significant concerns over new and more harmful variants and a vastly inconsistent global vaccine roll-out, the IOC must urgently guarantee world class Covid-19 protections at the Games.

The IOC and all others responsible for the Games have a fundamental duty of care to protect public and athlete health from harm, which means that no expense can be spared. Reports that up to three athletes will be sharing small rooms in poorly ventilated facilities are simply unacceptable. Harm to athlete and public health must not be collateral damage in staging the world’s largest mega-sporting event.

World Players has written to the IOC offering to help address these matters and share the significant expertise of the player associations. Heeding the lessons of that experience can be an important step towards building the trust and confidence required for a safe and successful Olympics. The time is quickly running out to do so.”

World Players has analysed the proposed Covid-19 measures with public health and other experts and identified a number of areas where these fall well behind the required best practice standards  (summary below). 


The World Players Association, part of UNI Global Union, is the exclusive global voice of organized players and athletes across professional sport. It brings together 85,000 players through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries. Its role is to ensure that the voice of organized players is heard at the highest levels in the decision-making of international sport.

For more information please contact, Leonie Guguen, Senior Communications Manager, UNI Global Union. Tel: +41 79 137 5436 or Email: