The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound.
Pound, who is a long-time member of the committee, told USA Today, “On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided, the parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”
He expects the games, which are scheduled to start July 24, will take place in 2021.
There has not yet been an official announcement as of yet from the full IOC but Pound expects one soon.
“It will come in stages,” he said. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”
Pound’s comments come a day after the IOC stated for the first time that they will announce their decision whether to postpone or scale down the Games within the next four weeks.
Pressure has been mounting on the IOC, with Canada and Australia withdrawing from this summer’s Games. The chairman of the British Olympic Association, Hugh Robertson, stated he expects Britain to be “joining shortly”.
“We can’t see any way that this can go ahead as things are constituted,” said Robertson. “I expect we will be joining Canada and Australia shortly.”
“I think it is very simple. If the virus continues as predicted by the government, I don’t think there is any way we can send a team,” Robertson told Sky Sports News.
“First, I don’t see any way that the athletes and Team GB could be ready by then. Elite training facilities are perfectly understandably and quite correctly closed around the country, so there is no way they could undertake the preparation they need to get ready for a Games.
“Secondly, there is the appropriateness of holding an Olympic Games at a time like this. We are actually in a process where we are talking to all our sports. We will complete that over the next couple of days.
“We have already said to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that we think their four-week pause is absolutely the right thing to do.”
Expect an official announcement soon.