Leading figures in a number of different minority sports have reacted with outrage today after the International Olympic Committee announced that the popular board game MONOPOLY has been added to the programme for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
IOC spokesperson Jaques Pierre-Martin made the announcement at an extraordinary meeting in Rio earlier today, where he also addressed a number of concerns about the current games.
He said: ‘The IOC Games Inclusion Panel receives hundreds of requests every single year, and we treat every single application on its own merits. After many months of careful thought and consideration, we are delighted to announce that the world-famous board game Monopoly will be added to the Summer Olympic Games programme from 2020 in Tokyo.’
‘The game is played by billions of people all over the world, and it is the perfect choice for all future games. For each event, the IOC will be using the version that is relevant to the host city, and this is why it also makes perfect sense for commercial and merchandising reasons.’
‘We are pleased to also confirm that the IOC now recognises the World Monopoly Federation (WMF) as a partner organisation, and all future Olympic Monopoly events will take place under their guidance and jurisdiction.’
‘Today’s announcement is the ultimate acknowledgement that Monopoly is a game of both incredible mental endurance and significant skill.’
Clive Ship is the president of BUMF, the British United Monopoly Federation, and he told Southend News Network that he is ‘beyond ecstatic’ at the news.
He said: ‘Today’s development is the climax of more than 20 years of campaigning and lobbying of the IOC and all of their partner federations – the inclusion of Monopoly in the Olympic Games is long overdue!’
‘There is a common misconception that Monopoly will never be more than just a casual evening or Sunday afternoon past time, but the professional Monopoly scene in the UK alone is incredibly tough and competitive.’
‘At the 2016 UK Monopoly Championships in Preston, the country’s top 128 players thrashed it out to find the ultimate champion – one of the group stage matches lasted for six days! Both players decided to call it a draw when the umpire noticed that the Community Chest pile had been rotated 13 times.’
However, some experts have predicted that the sport could bring ‘nothing but trouble’ when it is introduced to the Olympics.
Marlon Nantucket is a leading sports lawyer who is currently representing a number of different minority sports in their applications to the IOC for inclusion in the games, and he feels that the decision is ‘disgraceful.’
He said: ‘The conduct of the IOC has been utterly outrageous, and my clients have instructed me to launch a group class action at the Court of Arbitration for Sport – therefore I cannot comment any further on the legal aspect of this appeal.’
‘However, what I can say is that they all feel that Monopoly is going to seriously damage the global reputation of the International Olympic Committee. Anyone with access to the Internet can find case after case of serious incidents and injuries that have occurred during sessions of the game.’
‘In the UK alone, Monopoly is responsible for more than 900 hospital admissions every single year. A 14-year-old child from Yorkshire is still in an induced coma after a fight back in May with his brother over who would be allowed to play as the top hat.’