Muto said that although organizers hoped the threat posed by the virus could be reduced, nobody knows what the situation will be when the Games start on July 23, 2021.Organizers are assuming coronavirus will remain a major problem.”It is rather difficult for us to expect that the coronavirus pandemic is contained,” Muto told Reuters. “But if we can deliver the Games in Tokyo with coronavirus, Tokyo can be the role model for the next Olympic Games or other various international events.”Muto said he hoped Tokyo 2020 could be the benchmark in a post-pandemic world. Tokyo Olympics organizers are preparing to host the Games next year even if the global coronavirus pandemic hasn’t eased substantially, organizing committee chief executive Toshiro Muto told Reuters on Tuesday.The Tokyo Olympics had been scheduled to start on Friday but were put back to 2021 because of the pandemic.Since then, organizers have scrambled to rearrange an event that has been almost a decade in the making whilst trying to ensure next year’s Olympics are safe for athletes, officials and supporters. Topics : “By delivering the Games successfully in Tokyo we strongly hope that can create a legacy that is in the history of mankind.”New sponsorsThe delay to the Games will incur additional costs for organizers.The International Olympic Committee has already estimated that the postponement will cost them $800 million but the Japanese side has been less forthcoming in giving exact figures.Muto said the final figure wouldn’t be known until December but hoped that bringing on new sponsors, despite the grim economic forecast, would help bridge the gap.“I know that businesses are in dire circumstances because of coronavirus but still there are companies who are coming forward to say they want to sponsor the Games, which we appreciate very much,” Muto said.”It is a bright piece of news.”On Wednesday, Tokyo 2020 announced that Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world, is joining as a new Games sponsor.Muto said he hoped all of Tokyo 2020’s current sponsors would extend their contracts until the start of the Games next year, although this will come at a cost.A poll conducted by Japanese public broadcaster NHK last month found two-thirds of Tokyo 2020’s corporate sponsors were undecided on whether to continue their support.”We are hoping that there will be additional contributions [from existing sponsors] in terms of sponsorship fee because of the postponement of a year,” Muto said. “We would appreciate a lot if they agree to this.”Muto did not give the names of any other new sponsors.September meetingsThe Games were already set to cost more than 1.35 trillion yen before the postponement, and increased spending might further alienate a public already skeptical of an Olympics they once embraced.A recent poll conducted by Kyodo News found that fewer than one in four favored holding the Games as scheduled next year.Muto said meetings would be held starting in September, with members of the Japanese government and the local Tokyo Metropolitan Government on how best to rebuild support for the Games.”By making a nationwide effort to implement all possible, conceivable measures to battle coronavirus, the people of the world will be able to come to Tokyo with a peace of mind,” he said. “Once we create such an environment, I think people’s opinions will change.”
Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has allowed striker Keane to miss the clash in favour of turning out for club side LA Galaxy in their first MLS game of the season three days later. There is no place in O’Neill’s provisional 29-man squad for goalkeeper Shay Given, nor midfielder Stephen Ireland. Speculation had been rife that Given’s successful loan spell with Middlesbrough would bring him back into O’Neill’s squad. But the 37-year-old has had to return to parent club Aston Villa, and has now received another blow by missing out on an international return. “Our game against Serbia will provide us with great preparation ahead of the first of our European qualifiers in September,” said O’Neill. “I enjoyed working with the players in November for my first taste of international football, and am looking forward to assembling the squad once again in March.” Ireland provisional squad: D Forde (Millwall), D Randolph (Birmingham), R Elliot (Newcastle); R Keogh (Derby), M Wilson (Stoke), S Coleman (Everton), J O’Shea (Sunderland), A Pearce, S Kelly (both Reading), D Delaney (Ipswich), R Dunne (QPR); J McCarthy (Everton), C Clark (Aston Villa), S Ward (Brighton), G Whelan (Stoke), P Green (Leeds), A Reid (Notts Forest), A McGeady (Everton), A Pilkington (Norwich), J McClean (Wigan), S Quinn, D Meyler (both Hull), W Hoolahan (Norwich); S Long (Hull), D Murphy (Ipswich), J Walters (Stoke), K Doyle (QPR), A Stokes (Celtic), S Cox (Notts Forest). Press Association Robbie Keane will sit out Ireland’s friendly with Serbia in Dublin on March 5.
In the middle of a tight battle with Curt Phillips for the starting quarterback job, Joel Stave will enter Saturday\’s Spring Game looking to separate himself with a strong performance.[/media-credit]After six weeks of hard practice, the Wisconsin football team will be lifting the curtain Saturday when it opens up the final practice of the season for fans to come and watch an intrasquad scrimmage.Saturday marks the first Spring Game for Wisconsin since the arrival of new head coach Gary Andersen in the offseason, and things are already beginning to look different as the game approaches.Andersen announced weeks ago that the Spring Game would not take the same format that is has in years past – choosing to change the game into a scrimmage that will mirror game-like scenarios.“It’s offense versus defense,” Andersen said in his Monday press conference. “But it is a game. It will feel much like a game. It’s true scoring. If I at times need to maybe skew the score to keep it close, then I might have to do that. We’ll make it fun and entertaining for everybody that’s out there.”Unlike last year’s Spring Game, which pitted the No. 1 defense against the No. 2 offense and the No. 2 defense against the No. 1 offense, this year’s Spring Game will consist of two 15-minute periods of play between the offense, wearing white uniforms and the defense, wearing cardinal uniforms. Then, after a five-minute halftime, the team will take the field for two more ten-minute periods to end the scrimmage.While both teams can score in all of the traditional ways – scoring a touchdown or a field goal – the coaching staff also added several more interesting point-scoring methods to get both the players and fans excited about the scrimmage.The offense will be able to score by earning a 15-yard run, 20-yard pass or first down, and the defense can get on the scoreboard by earning a turnover or a three-and-out, among other nontraditional scoring options.Still, while the scoring will certainly add a new element to Wisconsin’s final practice, redshirt sophomore quarterback Joel Stave said the emphasis of the Spring Game is still on getting better above all else.“Nobody really looks at it as a real game, since you are playing your own guys,” Stave said. “So it’s just an opportunity for us to get in some good work for one more day … a chance to practice, tackle and play live.”During the last few practices, Stave and redshirt senior Curt Phillips have begun to take the majority of the reps at quarterback during practice.While a strong performance from either one could have an impact on the starting job next fall, Stave said the weight put on the quarterbacks in the Spring Game is no different than any other practice.“There were 14 practices before this, and there was a lot of growth in there,” Stave said. “So this is just another practice to try and compete and get better.”One of the reasons given by the coaching staff for the more scrimmage-like approach to the Spring Game this year was the lack of depth on the offensive line.After injuries to a number of players, the offensive line dwindled to eight eligible linemen at its lowest point this spring. With many of the remaining players having to sit out some practices for various injuries, a full-on Spring Game might have put them at risk for further injury.In addition, a number of key players for Wisconsin on both offense and defense will sit out Saturday, including redshirt senior offensive lineman Ryan Groy, redshirt senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, senior running back James White and redshirt senior linebacker Chris Borland.With a number of key upperclassmen sitting out Saturday, many of the younger players will get their first experience in front of the Badger faithful in the Spring Game – an event that garnered more than 10,000 fans last year. The game will also be televised on Big Ten network.For redshirt freshman offensive lineman Dan Voltz, the opportunity to play in the Spring Game in front of so many fans is the highlight of the spring – especially having never played in a regular season game for the Badgers this past fall.“Last year, my first Spring Game, I know I was pretty excited,” Voltz said. “So for the younger guys who have never played on TV or in front of a large crowd, it will be pretty cool.”