By Tim Stannard
What to do with the most complex, expensive and popular sports event in the world becomes an impossible question to solve
While the sport of soccer has begun to sort itself out for the foreseeable future with the postponement of the 2020 European Championships and Copa America 2020 -- and FIFA blissfully thought people cared about the destiny of the 2021 Club World Cup - matters for the 2020 Olympic Games are not looking so certain.
The Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on Friday 24th July and the country's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, declared that it would take place with spectators, athletes and mascots in tow. No changes. No compromises.
The International Olympic Committee doubled down with this viewpoint on Tuesday with a statement that that encouraged "all athletes to prepare for the Games as best as they can" but did at least admit that preparations are changing "day by day."
This approach seems to be ignoring currently realities regarding the global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is easy to see why.
Cancelling or postponing the Olympics is not an easy decision to make as it is with a Copa America, for example. They seem to come around every year anyway.
For most competing athletes, the Games are their only shot, every four years, not only to strive for glory but pick up sponsorship deals. The majority of athletes in the Olympics are amateur and the global publicity of success at the Games are a financial lifeline.
However, these same athletes are now caught between this IOC urge to keep preparing while physically being unable to do so. Very much a rock and a hard place.
Only 57% of athletes for the Games have qualified so far and with sporting events being cancelled across the globe for the foreseeable future, it's hard to see how the remaining 43% can do so.
Indeed, even training is an issue with many of those athletes being forced to stay at home, just four months before the Games are scheduled to take place. What's more, will they even be able to travel to Japan in July?
Proud of @stanfordwswim, and in a very special way these undefeated seniors❤️ Sending my love to all swimmers who will not have the chance to compete in championship meets this month. It’s now on us to protect the most vulnerable people in our lives and help stop the spread. pic.twitter.com/rzQ6w1YcIS— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) March 15, 2020
Organizationally, the Olympics are hugely complicated. Simply moving the Games a month, two months, or a year is a lot easier said than done.
Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by the Japanese government on setting up the Games. That cannot simply be written off along with sponsorship deals, broadcasting deals. It's money lost that would eventually see funding for grassroots sport cut. The NBA will be fine. Rowing and judo will not.
It's easy to understand the IOC's insistence that the Games will go ahead. It's the most complicated, expensive and glorious sporting party in the world. Billions across the globe tune in to watch it. To not have the Olympic Games would be awful.
Then again, calls from athletes saying that Tokyo 2020 is an impossibility under current circumstances are valid too.
There is no right answer. And this is the Olympic conundrum to solve.
Cancellation Corner: Golf gives in as French cause tennis turmoil
Less stories in Cancellation Corner today as sport finds less and less sports to shut down.
Golf recently gave in with the PGA Championships due to take place in San Francisco on the 11th May being moved. The earliest possible restart date for the sport is 18th May.
Tennis is getting itself into a pickle with Grand Slams rearranging themselves willy-nilly. The French Open has arbitrarily moved itself from May to the 20th September, just one week after the US Open was due to finish, leaving just one week between Grand Slam tournaments - two different surfaces, two different preparations needed.
"Such a decision should not be made unilaterally," huffed a statement from the US Tennis Association.
An update on the 2020 US Open. pic.twitter.com/YfhnsKdvBD— US Open Tennis (@usopen) March 17, 2020
As it stands, the Turkish Super Lig ploughs on behind closed doors. So...beIN SPORTS is still able to offer some soccer on Friday at 12:55PM as Fenerbahce takes on Kayserispor.
NFL saves sports media with trading day
Sports Burst is theorizing that Tom Brady never planned to leave the New England Patriots but instead decided to take one for the team. The team being TEAM AMERICA!
The country needed something else to talk about other than you know what. So, after 20 years in Boston Tom decided to pack up his health supplements and swerve strawberries at a brand new franchise.
That franchise might be announced around 4PM ET today as the 2020 trading period officially begins. There was a true Brady bunch of teams wanting the creaking quarterback including the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Miami Dolphins, however it looks likely that Brady will head to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a reported $30 million a year deal.
The Sports Burst live show will bring you the latest news and views from the day at 12PM ET on Facebook live, Youtube and the beIN SPORTS XTRA channel.