Tokyo 2020: Athletes asked by IOC to sign Covid-19 liability waiver forms

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The IOC will require all participants in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics to release them in writing from any responsibility for illnesses or deaths resulting from Covid infections picked up during the Games, a move that was met with widespread dismay.

Each athlete and member of the support staff who will attend the event scheduled to commence on July 23rd, will be required to sign an exemption ‘entry form’ entitled ‘Conditions of Participation for NOC Delegates’, one of which is copy is obtained by Sportsmail.

Section 4 of this document begins: “ I agree to participate in the Games at my own risk and responsibility, including any consequences for my participation in and / or performance of the Games, serious bodily injury or even death if due to the potential exposure to health risks such as the transmission of COVID-19. ‘

All athletes and support staff attending the Tokyo Olympics this summer are required to sign a waiver ‘entry form’ that will release the IOC and organizers of guilt if Covid-19 is caught.

A member of the Philippine Olympic team will receive a vaccination against Covid prior to the Games

A member of the Philippine Olympic team will receive a vaccination against Covid prior to the Games

Later in the same section, the waiver reads: “ To the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, I irrevocably disclaim the [IOC and Tokyo organisers] of any liability for any loss, injury, infectious disease or damage that I may suffer. ‘

While it is not uncommon for athletes to waive certain rights at major sporting events, the IOC has not previously mentioned the risk of death in a Games, or has exempted itself from any responsibility in this way.

The World Players’ Association – a global organization representing athletes – has previously called for no waivers, saying, “ The IOC and all others responsible for the Games have a fundamental duty of care to protect the public and health of athletes from harm. . ‘

Former Team GB rower, Cath Bishop, an Olympic silver medalist who is now a leadership speaker, writer and consultant, told Sportsmail: ‘It is an extension of what already exists, the IOC protects itself and takes away the rights of athletes, but what seems strange to me is that it does not come with more support [from the IOC], about what would happen if you got sick and developed a long-term health problem.

‘That is the care of an athlete, for example becoming a Covid for a long time, without the insurance that you will be medically supported.

Britain's former Olympic rower Cath Bishop said there were few guarantees of support should an athlete suffer the consequences of Long Covid after the Games.

Britain’s former Olympic rower Cath Bishop said there were few guarantees of support should an athlete suffer the consequences of Long Covid after the Games.

Should they pull the plug?

Medical experts, the Japanese public and now of the Games’ biggest sponsors are lining up to demand organizers pull the plug during this summer’s Olympics.

  • The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, an official sponsor of the Tokyo Olympics, is calling for the Games to be canceled less than two months before the opening ceremony.
  • A poll released last week showed that 83 percent of those surveyed said they didn’t want the Games to go ahead – 14 percentage points more than in April.
  • An agency representing 6,000 primary care physicians in Tokyo has written an open letter to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on its website stating that it would “ urgently ” request a postponement.
  • The Japanese government is accused of failing to take the necessary security measures after spring test events for water polo and triathlon were canceled.
  • North Korea has withdrawn all of its athletes. The republic sent 31 athletes to Rio in 2016 and then won seven medals.
  • A Japanese doctors’ union warned that hospitals will become overcrowded in the summer, calling the decision to continue hosting the Games a “naive illusion.”

Bishop added that the IOC now recognizing that deaths could theoretically arise from the Tokyo Games is significant.

Look how many people have died [with Covid] around the world for the past year, ”she said.

It’s a deadly disease and it’s massively random. There are people who died in their twenties and thirties. It’s not the majority, but it happens.

‘[The new waivers] identify the greater risks that are being taken. The language until now has been, “It’s safe, it’s safe, it’s safe.” This clearly tells us that it is not safe. ‘

Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the IOC, insisted that the Games continue, “ barring an Armageddon, ” while more than 80 percent of Japan’s population is against the Olympics.

The IOC and organizers insist that the Tokyo Games continue despite a public response

The IOC and organizers insist that the Tokyo Games continue despite a public response

The head of the Japanese doctors’ union has expressed fear that the Games could even help create new strains of Covid.

Bishop believes the IOC’s determination to go ahead anyway is ultimately driven by money, specifically billions in TV cash that would be lost in the event of a cancellation.

“It’s entirely driven by the feeling of ‘we can’t go back,’ and we’d rather crash than pull back, ” she says.

‘It’s pretty much it [broadcasting ] contracts … if you think about it [IOC president] Thomas Back’s 2020 agenda of credibility, youth and sustainability is now in tatters.

‘You wonder what the impact will be in the longer term, in terms of turning off the public. People will not look at it. It is not reported on [in the same way]. You set a pretty dangerous precedent there because the Olympics isn’t the kind of event that brings the world together. ‘

About 80 percent of participants are expected to have received Covid vaccines before the Games begin.

About 80 percent of Tokyo 2020 participants have been pre-vaccinated

About 80 percent of Tokyo 2020 participants have been pre-vaccinated

The Tokyo organizing committee had told it Sportsmail that they will also provide health insurance for participants during the Games, but not afterwards.

An IOC spokesperson said: “ The safety and security of all persons attending the Games is the highest priority of the IOC and the Japanese organizers … Entry forms were already in place for previous Games and have been updated to include COVID-19 related considerations. .

This is really to provide transparency and ensure informed consent from the Games participants. Moreover, the registration forms are in line with the common practice of other large event organizers and the forms fall within the framework of the law. ‘

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