BERLIN (Reuters) – Talks on the possible postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are long overdue, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) said on Tuesday, adding that athletes would have preferred a quicker decision by the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC and Tokyo Games organizers are under mounting pressure to postpone the Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC President Thomas Bach are scheduled to hold a call at 1100 GMT to discuss a delay.
“Considering postponing the Games is a correct and long overdue step given the current health situation globally,” DOSB President Alfons Hoermann said in a statement. “Because this step signals both internally and externally that the Games have to give way to world health.
“But we would have wished that we already had by now a clear statement that the Games would definitely not take place at the planned date and that now alternatives were being considered.”
Organizers had long insisted the Games would go ahead as planned from July 24.
As the virus spread from Asia to Europe and further west, however, opposition to the Games mounted, forcing organizers on Sunday to say they were considering postponement in a four-week consultation period.
“The public perception of the IOC and the entire world of sports will be defined by how the steps in the next four weeks are taken and communicated openly,” Hoermann said.
“Given expert forecasts that say that autumn is not a secure alternative, we would prefer a postponement to next year.”
The DOSB will poll its athletes in the coming days to determine a preferred date, Hoermann said.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Jason Neely and Nick Macfie
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