Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori is to resign after he sparked outrage in Japan and abroad by claiming that women talk too much in meetings, reports said Thursday.
The decision comes after a barrage of criticism from politicians to sports stars and is the latest headache for organisers as they battle public disquiet over plans to hold the Games this summer despite the pandemic.
Multiple Japanese media outlets, citing anonymous sources, said the 83-year-old has told officials he wishes to step down and will announce his resignation at a meeting of Games organisers on Friday.
His most likely successor is Saburo Kawabuchi, an 84-year-old long-time sports administrator, local media reported.
Gaffe-prone Mori, a former prime minister, has come under increasing pressure since remarks he made last week to members of the Japanese Olympic Committee.
“When you increase the number of female executive members, if their speaking time isn’t restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” he said.
He has apologised for the sexist remarks — but insisted he was repeating complaints made by others and dug a deeper hole when he explained that he “doesn’t speak to women much”.
Public broadcaster NHK and other media said Mori met Kawabuchi Thursday to ask him to take on the role of president.
Kawabuchi, who currently serves in the symbolic role of Olympic Village mayor, reportedly accepted Mori’s request.
“If I am elected as president, I would make my utmost efforts,” NHK quoting him as saying after the talks.
A former footballer, Kawabuchi played a large part in popularising the game in Japan in the 1990s.
He played for Japan when the country last hosted the Olympics, in 1964, scoring a goal against Argentina.
– ‘Completely inappropriate’ –
Mori’s resignation would cap more than a week of controversy about his remarks.
Tokyo 2020, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the resignation reports, will hold a special meeting tomorrow of its council and executive board.
The meeting was called to allow officials to “express their opinions” on Mori’s remarks and discuss “future gender equality initiatives of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee”, organisers said.
Having initially said it considered the matter closed with Mori’s apology, the International Olympic Committee branded his remarks “completely inappropriate” as the backlash grew.
An online campaign calling for action against Mori has attracted more than 146,000 signatures, while tennis superstar Naomi Osaka slammed his comments as “ignorant”.
Since Mori’s remarks, around 400 Olympic and Paralympic volunteers have quit, according to Tokyo 2020, which has said the number includes withdrawals for all reasons.
A total of 80,000 volunteers from Japan and overseas have been recruited for this summer’s virus-postponed Games.
Games sponsor Toyota on Wednesday issued a statement by its president Akio Toyoda saying: “It’s very regrettable that the comments made by the leader of the organising committee differ from the values that Toyota holds.”
Tokyo’s governor turned up the heat further on Wednesday, saying “I won’t be attending” four-party Olympic talks expected to involve IOC head Thomas Bach later this month.
“I don’t think a four-party meeting would deliver anything positive,” Yuriko Koike said, without further explanation.
Organisers are already facing public opposition to holding the Games this summer, with polls showing around 80 percent back either further postponement or a cancellation.
Parts of Japan, including the capital, are currently under a virus state of emergency, and the first vaccine approval in the country is only expected next week.
In a bid to bolster support, organisers and Olympic officials have released a series of virus “playbooks” with rules they say will ensure the Games can be held safely even if the pandemic is not under control by the opening ceremony, scheduled for July 23.
UEFA Europa League Last 16 Draw Done (SEE FULL DRAW)
The draw for Europa League last-16 for 2020/21 season was done today.
The Europa League last 16 will take place between March 11 and March 18, with the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals the following day after the second leg.
The quarter-finals will then be played between April 8 and April 15, while the semi-finals will be played on both April 29 and May 6.
Premiership club, Manchester United will face Italian giants, AC Milan in the tie of the Europa League last-16, while Arsenal will take on Olympiacos.
The final, which will be in Gdansk, Poland this year, will take place on May 26.
See full draw below.
Michail Antonio Set To Ditch England National Team For Jamaica
West Han United Forward, Michail Antonio is reportedly set to change his international allegiance from England to Jamaica in a bid to play at the 2022 World Cup.
Michail Antonio, who was born to Jamaican parents in in London, England, turned down the opportunity to represent Jamaica in 2016 and was later called up to England squads by Sam Allardyce and Gareth Southgate but did not make his debut.
The Telegraph reports that Antonio will choose to accept Jamaica’s latest approach with their Football Federation hoping he will be available for the CONCACAF qualifiers in September against Mexico and Costa Rica.
The 30-year-old, whose current form has helped his club climbed into the Champions League places, revealed he rejected several approaches from Jamaica in 2016 because of his dream to play for England.
Speaking in 2016, after he was called up to the England squad by Allardyce, he said: ‘I turned down an approach from Jamaica in March and for this to happen so quickly, I’m buzzing. I just want to keep my feet on the floor.
‘In my first season in the Premier League, even though I had good stats, the England manager would have had to take a risk on me.
‘It looks like the gaffer now believes that I’ve done enough to be in there, so hopefully, I can prove him right.’
The forward was then called up by Southgate in 2017 but he was forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury.
Ronaldinho Speaks After Losing Mother
Football legend, Ronaldinho has spoke after he lost his mother, Miguelina Eloi Assis dos Santos last Saturday.
On Tuesday night, February 23, Ronaldinho sent a message via his social media account to thank fans and friends for their show of support following the news of his mother’s death.
“My family and I thank you all for the love and support we are receiving at this difficult time. My mother was an inspiration of strength and joy to all who knew her and will continue to exert her light in our lives forever. With the strength she taught us, we will continue our journey. Thank you ”, he wrote in his post accompanied with an image of him hugging his mother.
His mother passed away on Saturday, February 20, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, from COVID-19 complications. She was hospitalized since December 2020 after having been infected with COVID-19.
Burna Boy Features In New Pepsi Advert Alongside Messi, Pogba, Sancho, Others
Nigerian Musician, Burna Boy featured in a new Pepsi advert alongside football stars Leo Messi, Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho and Others.
Burna boy who is a brand ambassador for Pepsi joined other ambassadors as he voiced the theme song in their newest ad which he shared on his official Twitter page.
Super honoured to have partnered with @PepsiGlobal on a new track ‘Rotate’ with @IamBeckyG releasing on the new Pepsi “Fizz To Life” spot featuring @LeoMessi @PaulPogba @Sanchooo10 and @svandesanden #Fortheloveofit. OUT NOW! 🚀 pic.twitter.com/4zrbK3c4PI— Burna Boy (@burnaboy) February 23, 2021
The song for Pepsi is a new track ‘Rotate’ featuring Becky G on the new Pepsi “Fizz To Life” spot featuring Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho and athlete, Shanice Van De Sanden.
This is coming after his song ‘Collateral Damage‘ has been used as theme song for popular video game, “Need for Speed Heat”.
Watch the video below:
Juventus Goalkeeper Buffon Fined $6,000 By Italian Football Federation
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was on Thursday fined 5,000 euros ($6,000) by the Italian Football Federation for blasphemy.
The 43-year-old Italian World Cup winner, who escaped a ban for the offence, was overheard using a “blasphemous expression” towards teammate Manolo Portanova during Juve’s 4-0 league win over Parma on December 19.
Buffon, who holds the record for Serie A matches played with 653 to date, was not caught on camera but there was an audio recording of the incident.
Since 2010, the Italian FA have taken disciplinary action against several players and coaches heard disrespecting God or the sacred.
But the penalties have increased this season with empty stadiums allowing the microphones and cameras to capture heated exchanges between players and coaches.
AS Roma midfielder Bryan Cristante and Lazio’s Manuel Lazzari were both suspended for a match this season for “blasphemous” remarks.
The Italian federation are also probing an altercation between Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku and AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the pitch in January, and Inter coach Antonio Conte and Juve president Andre Agnelli on the sidelines of an Italian Cup game last week.
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