34th Anniv Suppl

Florida offers to host Olympics

If Tokyo backs out

Miami—Florida’s chief financial officer on Monday told the International Olympic Committee that the state would be happy to host the Olympics Games amid speculation that current hosts Japan may back out.

The logo of the Japanese Olympic Committee is displayed at an entrance of the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. Florida’s chief financial officer told the International Olympic Committee that the state would be happy to host the Olympics Games amid speculation that current hosts Japan may back out. AFP
Jimmy Patronis sent a letter to Thomas Bach, the head of the IOC, “to encourage you to consider relocating the 2021 Olympics from Tokyo, Japan to the United States of America, and more specifically to Florida.”

“With media reports of leaders in Japan ‘privately’ concluding that they are too concerned about the pandemic for the 2021 Olympics to take place, there is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida,” he said.

The letter, signed by Patronis and posted online, cited the supposed strength of state’s vaccination roll-out, its economic re-opening and sports events it has hosted during the pandemic, as well as the fact that its theme parks, including Disney World, are open for business.

But Florida has struggled badly in the coronavirus pandemic, with over 25,000 deaths so far in the state as the US death toll nears 420,000.

“Whatever precautions are required let’s figure it out and get it done,” Patronis said.

Last Friday, parties responsible for organizing the Tokyo games -- scheduled for last year but delayed for a year because of the global health crisis -- insisted they would be sticking to the planned dates of July 23 until August 8. 

“I am determined to realize a safe and secure Tokyo Games as proof that mankind will have overcome the virus,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Olympic Committee CONI sent out a warning on Monday that the country may be sanctioned by the IOC for not respecting the sporting body’s independence.

Two days before an IOC Executive Committee in Lausanne where the Italian situation will be on the agenda, CONI President Giovanni Malago, an IOC member, urged the Italian government to take urgent legislative measures to avoid a potential Olympic ban for the country.

“We can still find a solution by Wednesday, there is still time”, Malago said on Monday during a parliamentary hearing.

Global governing body IOC, which warned Rome in the summer of 2019 of the risks of government interference in the management of CONI, puts great emphasis on the independence of national Olympic committees, a key element of its Olympic Charter.

The origin of the dispute dates back to the end of 2018 when the agency managing the employees and resources, in particular financial, of CONI was put under the direct control of the national government.

It had previously been managed directly by the Italian Olympic Committee. 

“In carrying out its business, CONI cannot depend on a government company,” Malago said on Monday.

Since the summer 2019 warning, the IOC has written several times to the Italian government about the issue and the IOC President Thomas Bach publicly expressed his concern at the end of September during World Road Cycling Championships in Imola.

Neither the Italian Sports Ministry nor the IOC in Lausanne has responded to requests for comment from AFP.

Topics: International Olympic Committee , Florida , Jimmy Patronis , Thomas Bach , International Olympic Committee
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