IOC Has Reserve Fund in Case Virus Cancels Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee is keeping an eye on the coronavirus.

In the case that the outbreak continues to spread and cancels the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the IOC has a plan to continue to support global sports. According to Bloomberg, the committee has a $897 million reserve fund to help finance global sports if the Olympics can’t be held from July to August.

Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, said that the fund was created in 2001 with $105 million for international sports federations that rely on the IOC to balance their budgets. Pound also said that the IOC would be more likely to cancel the Olympics than postpone it or move it to a new location.

“It’s a significant number, and would keep all the balls in the air if we actually missed a games,” Pound said, noting that the fund is for the less-popular sports like judo and water polo. “This is the most dangerous threat to the Olympics other than a state of actual war.”

The 1916 Berlin Olympics were cancelled due to World War I, while the 1940 Tokyo Olympics and 1944 London Olympics were cancelled during World War II.

Related content: Japanese Virologist Warns Virus Could Stymie Olympics

Bloomberg reports that 73 percent of the $5.7 billion the IOC made on the 2016 and 2018 Olympics came from broadcast rights. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio resulted in $540 million to international governing bodies and $540 million to national governing bodies in order to fund athletes around the world.

The coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December, has spread to 80,000 cases across the globe. About 2,500 people have died from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus has been found in 32 countries and territories, including recent outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea.

Officials are moving forward with plans to hold the Olympics, which are scheduled to start July 24 in Tokyo.

“The preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 continue as planned,” the IOC said in a statement. “Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host a safe and secure games.”

The virus has already impacted the sporting world, including the Chinese Basketball Association going on hiatus, Italian soccer postponing games, Chinese gymnasts being unable to compete at the World Cup, Olympic qualifying events being moved, and the University of Michigan football team cancelling an international trip.

Related content: Chinese Gymnastics Banned from Travel to Australia

Related content: Michigan Cancels Spring Trip Over Coronavirus Fears

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