As an official decision from the International Olympic Committee on the fate of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics expected in four weeks, a senior member of IOC says the Games will be delayed by one year over coronavirus concerns.
“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said in a phone interview to USA Today. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know,” he added.
Pound, the longest-serving IOC member and one of the most influential members in it, said the Games will likely be moved to next year. He said a decision to this effect is expected soon.
In a statement issued after a meeting of the IOC Executive Board, the apex body said cancellation is currently not on the agenda.
The International Olympic Committee, under immense pressure to change the dates of the biggest sports gala on earth, said it would decide within four weeks whether to postpone or downsize the event.
Canada and Australia have already withdrawn from this year’s Olympics. It was followed by the British Olympic Association’s statement that it is unlikely that UK will send its team to Tokyo.
“The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement”.
The IOC said it will finalize these discussions within the next four weeks, and reach a conclusion.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Parliament that although he cannot think of cancelling the Olympics, if a situation comes not to hold the Games as scheduled, “I think we may not have a choice but to make a decision to postpone, putting a priority on athletes.”
The Olympic Games in Tokyo is scheduled to begin on July 24.
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