Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed within days due to coronavirus
An announcement that the Tokyo Olympics will be postponed until 2021 will be made in the coming days – and potentially as soon as Tuesday, the Guardian understands.
The Japanese government confirmed on Tuesday that the country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe,
and the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, had arranged a conference call on Tuesday at 11am GMT.
One IOC source said the exact timing of any delay to the Tokyo Games would depend on how the call went,
but said that a postponement “was coming”. Another source agreed saying the IOC and organisers had no choice with so many athletes and countries now urging a delay because of coronavirus.
On Sunday the IOC came under further criticism after it announced that it was taking a four-week consultation before making a final decision. However the Guardian understands that Bach has accepted for several days that the Games will have to be moved for several days, and that it has been the Japanese organisers who have been more reluctant to postpone the event.
Michael Payne, a former senior IOC marketing executive with close ties to the Olympic movement, told the Guardian he also expected a quick decision.
“The IOC is both officially and through its back channels clearly applying major pressure to get to a quick decision, because it realises that the delay is damaging to athletes’ and their preparations,” said Payne, who negotiated the $1bn deal between Chinese group Alibaba and the IOC.