Olympic president says cancelling Tokyo 2020 has not been discussed
Olympic committee president insists cancelling or postponing Tokyo 2020 was not even discussed during key meeting today
- An Olympic meeting was held on Wednesday but cancellation wasn’t discussed
- Japan could lose more than £10billion if the Games were to be cancelled
- Organisers insist the Games will happen but doubts have grown in recent weeks
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president has insisted that the nightmare scenario of either cancelling or postponing the Tokyo Olympics was not discussed at a key meeting today.
‘Neither the word cancellation nor postponement was mentioned today during the Executive Board meeting,’ Thomas Bach told reporters.
‘I will not add fuel to the flames of speculation. Our statement from yesterday is very clear – we are fully committed to the success of the Tokyo Games.’
The Olympics are due to take place from July 24-August 9.
Many sporting events around the world have either been cancelled or postponed in the wake of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) attends a news conference after an Executive Board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland today. Bach has said that cancellation or postponement of the Tokyo Games this year was not even discussed during a committee meeting today
In this file photo from yesterday, a tourist wearing a protective mask takes a photo with the Olympic rings in the background, at Tokyo’s Odaiba district in Tokyo
British Cycling chief Stephen Park claimed on Tuesday that the event could be held without fans in order to curb the spread of the killer disease.
Holding the world’s biggest sporting event in empty stadiums could be the best way to avoid calling it off completely or moving it to another country, he said.
A number of sports in Japan – including baseball, tennis, sumo wrestling and horse racing – have already barred supporters to try and stop the virus from spreading.
Financially, Japan could lose more than £11billion if the event was cancelled, while private firms face further losses of more than £6billion, it is feared.
The £9.6billion bill for the Olympics including huge taxpayer spending on a new national stadium would be regarded as wasted if the Games are cancelled.
The £9.6billion bill for the Olympics including huge taxpayer spending on a new national stadium in Tokyo (pictured in February) would be seen as wasted if the Games are cancelled
In addition, experts say that Japan’s tourism industry could suffer a £1.7billion blow if the expected millions of spectators do not materialise – bringing Japan’s total losses to £11.3billion.
Around 3,200 people have died and over 90,000 have been infected in more than 60 countries worldwide.
The vast majority of cases are in China, but South Korea, Italy and Iran have emerged as the countries with the most cases outside the epicentre.
Sponsors have already paid out billions to be associated with the Games (pictured here, a Visa advert featuring Usain Bolt at the London 2012 Olympics)
The virus, however, has infected at least 230 people across Japan and been linked to five deaths.
Bach said that a working group had been created made up of the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organisers, the city of Tokyo, the Japanese government and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We have this joint working group which holds regular meetings. We examine every question which may arise but we do not speculate on possible future developments,” added Bach.
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