The International Olympic Committee has given itself a four week deadline to consider its options as pressure mounts for the Tokyo Olympics to either postpone or cancel altogether.
Last week IOC president Thomas Bach insisted that there was “No Plan B”, but pressure from athletes and World Athletics has forced the organising body to consider several scenarios over the next month, with postponement to 2021 believed to be the most likely option.
World Athletics president Seb Coe wrote to Bach to tell him that the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for July and August is “neither feasible nor desirable” in the current global coronavirus pandemic.
“I write to you to request that the Games be moved,” Coe stated, arguing that there was “no longer a level playing for athletes” as a result of the disruption caused by coronavirus.
But the IOC said it still had options.
“On the one hand, there are significant improvements in Japan where the people are warmly welcoming the Olympic flame,” the IOC stated. “This could strengthen the IOC’s confidence in the Japanese hosts that the IOC could, with certain safety restrictions, organise the Olympic Games in the country whilst respecting its principle of safeguarding the health of everyone involved.
“On the other hand, 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.”
While postponement seemed like the most straightforward choice, the IOC said it would not be without its challenges.
“A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available any more. The situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle, and the international sports calendar for at least 33 Olympic sports would have to be adapted. These are just a few of many, many more challenges,” the IOC stated.