IOC suggests more venues outside Tokyo for 2020 Games

Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:53am EST
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates has urged Tokyo to consider moving more events to venues outside the capital, including one hundreds of kilometers away, in a bid to rein in spending for the 2020 Summer Games.

Rising labor and construction costs have forced Tokyo to rethink its plans for 10 venues it intended to build for the Games, contravening its promise that virtually all events would take place within 8 km (5 miles) of the Olympic village - one of the key points in its successful hosting bid.

In addition, the IOC on Tuesday made some of the biggest changes in decades in the way the Games are organized and run, issuing 40 recommendations and putting more of an emphasis on sustainability in an effort to ease the burden on host cities.

"(The IOC) has come out and specifically said that we should make the maximum use of existing facilities, and that, so far as I am concerned, overrides the 8km philosophy which we had as part of the bid," Coates told a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday after a two-day IOC review of Tokyo's preparations.

"We have suggested to the organizing committee that for the preliminaries for basketball, just as for football, they may care to look at cities like Osaka that might have large venues."

Tokyo has said from the start that some preliminary events for soccer would be held in parts of northeastern Japan affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in an effort to broaden the economic impact, but this is the first time holding events in other regions has been mentioned.

Osaka is some 400 km (255 miles) west of Tokyo.

Planners allotted $1.5 billion for venues in Tokyo's Olympics bid but that estimate more than doubled late last year after recalculation.   Continued...