Nyon, Switzerland, March 24, 2020 – The World Players Association welcomes today’s decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Executive Director Brendan Schwab said:
“World Players shares the determination of the IOC to secure both public health and a Tokyo Olympiad at a time when both are in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The clear message from athletes is that they – like all humanity – are deeply concerned about exacerbating the threats to public health by participating in a mega-sporting event of the scale of the Olympic Games. The health and safety risks to athletes themselves can also not be understated given the very severe symptoms and tragic fatalities that have befallen young and fit people.
“The postponement will help address anxiety among athletes which naturally exists given that any meaningful training and preparation for the Games has been impossible. The health and safety risks cannot be understated given the very severe symptoms and tragic fatalities that have befallen even young and fit people.
“World Players trusts that the postponement heralds a change in the culture of IOC decision-making from one of hierarchy to one of inclusion. Postponement – clearly the correct decision – followed strong calls by athletes and the Sport & Rights Alliance as well as historic decisions by key National Olympic Committees and sports bodies in athletics, swimming and gymnastics not to send teams.
“The rescheduling of the Games to 2021 has far ranging implications. Wide and inclusive consultation with relevant governments, sports bodies, brands and broadcasters, athletes including player and athlete associations, unions and civil society is essential. The very best public health and medical advice must be made openly available including through the World Health Organization.
“World Players is deeply respectful of the commitment and investment made by the governments and people of Japan and Tokyo and believe they should be rewarded when it is safe to do so.
“The IOC can take confidence from this process that inclusion and not hierarchy will lead to better decisions and ensure that once the pandemic is defeated, sport can resume in a safe, timely and sustainable manner and again inspire communities across the world.”
The World Players Association is the global voice of organized players and athletes across professional sport. A sector of UNI Global Union, it brings together 85,000 players through more than 100 player associations in more than 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:
In Nyon, Switzerland, Brendan Schwab +41 79 202 1928 (mobile); or email@example.com