Can the Tokyo Games still be cancelled? Yes, but the legal and financial fallout would be staggering
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is adamant the Tokyo Olympics will begin as scheduled on July 23, followed by the Paralympic Games on August 24. Polls indicate the Japanese public is equally adamant that neither event should go ahead.
Public sentiment against the games has recently been accompanied by disquiet from local sponsors. A research institute has also argued that while cancelling the games would cost Japan ¥1.81 trillion (A$21.3 billion), the economic loss would still be smaller than the costs associated with a nationwide post-Olympics state of emergency.
These medical and economic concerns are speculative, but they are nonetheless real.
A number of prefectures in Japan, including those in which Olympics events will take place, remain in a state of emergency, extended now to June 20. And Japan’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the developed world, at less than 5%.
Both of the above factors support the wider public’s concern that the risks of hosting the games in July appear too high to continue.
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- Tags: Athlete Welfare | Breach of Contract | Contract | Force Majeure | Governance | Insurance | International Olympic Committee | Japan | Olympics | Regulation | Safeguarding | Tokyo 2020
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About the Author
Jack Anderson is Professor and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne. The sports law program at Melbourne was one of the first to be established globally in the mid-1980 and continues to expand at the Melbourne Law School, which itself is ranked in the top 10 law schools globally.
Jack has published widely in the area including monographs such as The Legality of Boxing (Routledge 2007) and Modern Sports Law (Hart 2010) and edited collections such as Landmark Cases in Sports Law (Asser 2013) and EU Sports Law (Edward Elgar 2018 with R Parrish and B Garcia). He was Editor-in-Chief of the International Sports Law Journal from 2013 to 2016.
Jack is a former member of CAS (2016-2019). He is currently a member and arbitrator for World Athletics’ Disciplinary Tribunal, the National Sports Tribunal of Australia and the Football Federation of Victoria. He is a member of International Hockey Federation’s Integrity Unit and Basketball Australia’s National Integrity Advisory Committee. in 2019, he was appointed to the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission and is currently a Board Member of Harness Racing Victoria.