The Olympic rings are pictured in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
ATHENS (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board will discuss the widely expected postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in a hastily arranged conference call later on Tuesday, a source within the Olympic movement told Reuters.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC President Thomas Bach were speaking by phone on Tuesday morning.
A delay by a year looks like the most likely option, with an autumn 2020 date seen as too soon after the virus pandemic, if by then it is over.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the IOC was likely to make an announcement later in the day on the issue.
The IOC and Tokyo Games organizers are under mounting pressure to postpone the Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
They both had long insisted the Games would go ahead as planned from July 24, but as the virus spread, opposition to the Games mounted, forcing them on Sunday to say they were considering postponement in a four-week consultation period.
That, however, partly backfired as athletes and National Olympic Committees demanded an immediate decision to plan their year.
The Olympics have never been delayed in their 124-year modern history, though they were canceled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during the two world wars. Cold War boycotts disrupted the Moscow and Los Angeles Games in 1980 and 1984.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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