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What year is it?

If you don’t work in London, we won’t pay you London wages. ‘So why are you closing the London offices then?’.

Let’s park this WFW conundrum for a while and take a look at the positive and redemptive qualities of sport.

We have just had the 2020 Euros, which ended in a deserved win for the best team, Italy, and was widely regarded as a huge success. Until at least a thousand drunk English fans breached the Wembley ‘security’, like a virus breaking into a care home. And then, following a few penalty failures, the anticipated national implosion amid a deluge of racist tweets, after the government encouraged the racists, by condoning the booing of the national team if they took the knee.

Wimbledon 2021 has just finished too; this was won by the unpopular Serb, Novak Djokovic, against a plucky Italian. Normal order restored there then.

This Friday, the 2020 Olympics start in Tokyo and, unlike the two above events, will essentially take place behind closed doors. Currently the golf Open Championships, 2021, are underway at the Royal St. George’s Golf Club, with untold spectators and 300,000 are expected to turn up at Silverstone this weekend for the F1 Grand Prix.

So what year is it?  

Well, that’s a matter of branding and merchandise.  

Wimbledon had less 2020 merchandise to get rid of and so was able to follow the calendar and the natural order of things. The Euros and the Olympics simply could not not afford to destroy all their 2020 branded merchandise and so have both pretended 2021 is actually 2020 and hope that no-one noticed. 

Faster, higher, stronger.

Its Olympic year.

No-one ever wants the Olympics in their home city, but these really are the unwanted Games.

But this year’s (or last year’s) is the most unwanted in modern history.

As it stands currently, about 20% of Japan’s population has received two vaccine jabs and they are worried about the current arrival of athletes and officials from around the world, some of whom have already been tested positive for Coronavirus in the Olympic Village.

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year and the general presumption was that the Games would go ahead at a later date, when the world was no longer in the grip of a pandemic and the Olympics would be seen as a sort of celebration of freedom. Bad timing.

There will be 11,000 athletes and ten times that number of coaches, support staff and media arriving in Japan, making the Olympics the biggest potential ‘super-spreader’ in history.

The Japanese are firmly against these Games, yet the IOC has held their leaders contractually obliged to hold them. Breaking the IOC promise would be financially ruinous. 

The IOC president, Thomas Bach, following outbreaks of the virus in the Olympic Village, said: “the risk for the other residents of the Olympic village and the risk for the Japanese people is zero”.

It is worth noting that about one-third of Japan’s 126.3 million population is 65 or over and not all of these have been vaccinated against the virus. A little under two months ago, four per cent of the population had received both their jabs, although the figure is now nearer 20%.

According to The Lancet, the slowness of Japan’s rollout is down to the strict regulatory approval of vaccines, delays in their importation and a paucity of qualified medical personnel to administer them in a country where only doctors and nurses are permitted to give the injections.

So, a huge number of Japanese citizens, who are not yet vaccinated, will provide hospitality for the influx of foreign delegations who will need to be fed, watered and driven around in the coming weeks.

Japan was awarded the Games in 2013, in a show of unity, after their recovery from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. 

I hope I am wrong, but these Olympics, staged for financial reasons only, seem doomed to failure and to bring suffering on a nation who does not want them.

It may be the 2020 Games, held in 2021, but, to be fair, no-one ever wants this sporting jamboree on their doorstep. 

As I say, every time I write about the Olympics, it should be held every four years in Greece. Which is what the Gods would have wanted. 

 

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