Dick Pound, who has been on the IOC since 1978, has said it's a case of wait and see regarding the threat to the Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus.
Football's J-League in Japan has been postponed until March 15th, with Pound telling the Associated Press today that risks have to be taken into account when it comes to the staging of the Summer Olympics.
“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” said Pound, suggesting that a final call could be made on the Olympics in May if required.
Around 11,000 athletes, including those from Ireland are due in Tokyo for the 2020 games which are scheduled to start on July 24th.
Another 4,400 are expected for the Paralympics.
Pound recognises that this is a constantly evolving issue:
“This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not?’”
“All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”
Pound also indicated that the information the IOC currently has:
"Doesn’t call for cancellation or postponement of the Olympics. You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons. You can’t just say, we’ll do it in October."
If the coronavirus reached pandemic levels and the Tokyo Olympics couldn't be staged in July due to health concerns, Pound was stark about the consequences:
"You’re probably looking at a cancellation. To move the place is difficult because there are few places in the world that could think of gearing up facilities in that short time to put something on.”