A member of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee’s executive board has revealed to Reuters news agency that a delay of one or two years would be the “most feasible” option if the Olympic Games cannot be held this summer due to the global outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Haruyuki Takahashi who is a member of the rather large executive board which has over 24 members, revealed that the leadership group have started to look at scenarios for how the Games could be affected by the virus.
The message sent out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) so far is that the Games will go-ahead this summer despite fears over the Coronavirus, as billions have been spent in preparations for the Games, including funding from sponsors who are collectively becoming more nervous by the minute over how the coronavirus will affect their investments into the Olympic Games.
“We need to start preparing for any possibility. If the Games can’t be held in the summer, a delay of one or two years would be most feasible,” he said, speaking to Reuters.
Takahashi also revealed that the financial damage from either cancelling the Games or having them played behind closed doors would be too great. However, rescheduling the Games to under a year would clash with other major professional sports schedules.
Tokyo 2020 organisers have since released a statement to declare they have no intentions on postponing or cancelling the Games, despite Takahashi’s comments.
The statement notes that:
“We sought clarification from Mr Takahashi; he stated he had inadvertently given his personal opinion in response to a hypothetical question.
“As IOC President (Thomas Bach) stated the other day, neither the IOC nor the organising committee is considering postponing or cancelling the Tokyo 2020 Games, and we are proceeding with our preparations for a safe and secure Games opening on July 24, 2020, as planned.”
Seiko Hashimoto, the Olympic Minister for Japan has noted that the contract with the IOC would allow postponement within the same year.
In terms of the athletes, this would be the most feasible option, as delays could affect them majorly as those that are in the peak of their career may not be selected to represent their countries if the delay is too long.