By Nick Butler

John Coates has urged Tokyo 2020 to consider holder events further afield in order to save costs ©Tokyo 2020/Shugo TakemiTokyo 2020 organisers have been urged to take advantage of Olympic Agenda 2020 proposals and move Olympic and Paralympics events outside the host city in order to save costs.

The suggestion, made by International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates during the latest IOC Project Review visit to the Japanese capital, comes as increasing construction costs are forcing organisers to rethink plans to build 10 new venues within eight kilometres of the Olympic Village.

This was a key pledge in the cities successful bid and was seen as an important legacy of the Games.

But it is now thought the benefits of saving money and expenditure by holding the events elsewhere would outweigh the legacy benefits.

As one of 40 Agenda 2020 recommendations which have been put forward for approval by the membership next month, the IOC Executive Board are seeking to permit "the organisation of entire sports and disciplines outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country notably for reasons of geography and sustainability".

"[The IOC] has come out and specifically said that we should make the maximum use of existing facilities, said IOC  Tokyo 2020 Coordination Committee chairman Coates following the visit, as reported by Reuters. 

"That, so far as I am concerned, overrides the eight kilometre philosophy which we had as part of the bid,"

"We have suggested to the Organising 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."

The Saitama Super Arena in Saitama City has been muted as a possible existing venue that could be used ©WikipediaThe Saitama Super Arena in Saitama City has been muted as a possible existing venue that could be used ©Wikipedia

During the two-day visit, the IOC delegation, which also included Coordination Commission deputy-chair Alex Gilady, visited Saitama Super Arena, a 37,000-seat multipurpose venue one hour north of Tokyo seen as a possible alternate for the Olympic basketball competition.

Coates described this as "a great experience", before adding how they "are also mindful that it was the sight of the basketball World Championships in 2006 and it was very successful".

It has always been planned for some preliminary football matches to be held in the North-Eastern region affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but it is possible football matches, along with those in other sports, could now be held elsewhere as well.

Decisions are still to be made, the Organising Committee said, but they hope to have a fuller plan completed by February, with Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori admitting they are "trying to avoid swelling expenses that become a huge burden for the people of Japan". 

"Our discussions included a wide range of items, including a review of the Games venue plans, the Games vision, personnel management and commercial matters," added Mori.

"We are extremely grateful for the valuable advice offered by chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates, and all members of the IOC delegation.

"We will of course be incorporating this advice into the formulation of our Games Foundation Plan."

The idea of baseball and softball returning to the Olympic programme, after a 12 year absense, in Tokyo has also been praised ©Getty ImagesThe idea of baseball and softball returning to the Olympic programme, after a 12 year absense, in Tokyo has also been praised ©Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, Mori also spoke positively about another of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, to increase the flexibility of the sports programme for each Games.

This is widely seen as a way to include baseball and softball on the programme.

"In the case of Japan, including baseball and softball would be a great idea," the official, a former Prime Minister of Japan, added.

"The two sports are very popular in Japan and having them in the programme would be a big plus."

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