The International Olympic Committee is contemplating a postponement of Tokyo 2020, and has given itself a deadline of 4 weeks to decide.
The IOC’s government board met on Sunday amid mounting strain from athletes and nationwide Olympic committees for the Games to be delayed due to the coronavirus disaster.
“In light of the worldwide deteriorating situation… the executive board has today initiated the next step in the IOC’s scenario-planning,” it said in a statement.
“These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games.”
Cancellation is “not on the agenda”, mentioned the IOC, however a ‘scaled-down’ Games may even be thought of.
However, postponement – by both a number of months or most likely an entire 12 months – is considered the most probably final result.
The improvement marks a major shift by the IOC, which as just lately as 5 days in the past mentioned it was “fully committed” to the Tokyo 2020 Games.
British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Sir Hugh Robertson mentioned: “We welcome the IOC executive board decision to review the options in respect of a postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“However, we urge fast decision-making for the sake of athletes who nonetheless face vital uncertainty.
“Restrictions now in place have removed the ability of athletes to compete on a level playing field and it simply does not seem appropriate to continue on the present course towards the Olympic Games in the current environment.”
The International Paralympic Committee mentioned it “fully supports” the choice to “investigate potential scenarios”.
Dame Katherine Grainger, chair of UK Sport, mentioned the information was “inevitable” and it was “the correct decision for the safety of athletes, staff and fans”.
On Tuesday the BOA, the British Paralympic Association and UK Sport will host a convention name with the chief executives and efficiency administrators of summer time Olympic and Paralympic sports activities.
Athlete consultant our bodies may even be invited to hitch the decision, which is able to primarily be used to debate the affect of the coronavirus pandemic within the UK, such because the closure of elite coaching amenities.
The IOC added: “There is a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of Covid-19 in different countries on different continents. This led the executive board to the conclusion that the IOC needs to take the next step in its scenario-planning.
“The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, begin detailed discussions to finish its evaluation of the fast improvement of the worldwide well being scenario and its affect on the Olympic Games, together with the state of affairs of postponement.
“The IOC executive board emphasised that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody.”
In a letter to athletes revealed on Sunday, IOC president Thomas Bach mentioned that “we are in a dilemma” and “a final decision about the date of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now would still be premature”.
He added that to postpone the Games “is an extremely complex challenge” and a cancellation would “destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes”.
In phrases of a postponement, Bach warned: “A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore.
“The conditions with hundreds of thousands of nights already booked in resorts is extraordinarily troublesome to deal with, and the worldwide sports activities calendar for a minimum of 33 Olympic sports activities must be tailored. These are only a few of many, many extra challenges.”
UK Athletics, its US counterpart, and a number of other nationwide Olympic governing our bodies have urged the IOC in latest days to delay the Games.