30 Nov 2016

IOC tells Tokyo to rein in Games spending

7:35 am on 30 November 2016

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has urged Tokyo to keep costs for the 2020 Summer Games below $US20 billion as the hosts continue to grapple with ballooning expenses.

Olympic rings

Olympic rings Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike ordered a review of the budget that recommended revised plans for three venues to trim costs projected to hit $US26.7 billion, four times the initial estimates made when Tokyo won the rights for the Games.

At an open meeting for a four-party working group that includes the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organisers vowed to keep costs below $US20 billion but the Olympic authority felt even that ceiling was too high.

"The IOC has not agreed to that amount of money," IOC vice president John Coates told reporters after the meeting.

"We believe the Games can be delivered for significantly less than that," he said.

Among proposals discussed were those made by the Tokyo government to move rowing and canoe/kayak sprint events to an existing course 400 km north of Tokyo, and using older facilities in the capital for volleyball and swimming.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Koike, who became governor in August, told the meeting that due to the high cost of refurbishing the existing rowing venue, Tokyo had decided to stick with plans to build a new one in the capital.

Costs for a new aquatics centre will be pared by cutting the number of seats.

As for volleyball, she proposed using an existing venue in the neighbouring city of Yokohama and asked to have until Christmas to make a final decision - a request to which the group agreed.

Last month, IOC President Thomas Bach said that while the Olympic authority was concerned about rising costs for the Tokyo Games, the experience of the athletes had to remain a priority for any planning.

- Reuters