"DELUDED" Seb Coe faced fan fury after insisting this summer's Olympics can still go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The double Olympic gold medallist and president of World Athletics said it is too early to make a definitive decision on the Tokyo Games – and that calling it off prematurely could affect an athlete's "earning potential".
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Coronavirus has decimated the sporting calendar, with the Euros being pushed to next year and an emergency meeting on the fate of the Premier League being held today.
Rowing hero Matthew Pinsent demanded the Games be postponed, criticising Olympics chiefs' "tone deaf" response to the global emergency.
But Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said sport's biggest event – due to begin July 24 – will go ahead "as planned" and the IOC backed him up.
British track legend Coe, 63, stuck to the same line on an interview with BBC Radio 4 – to the utter disbelief of listeners.
Asked about why the Olympics had not yet been postponed, Coe said: "Let's not make a precipitant decision with four months to go when we don’t actually have to make that decision.
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"I don’t think you actually have to make that decision at this moment.
"I have a responsibility for our showcase events, the Diamond League. We have postponed three of them, we haven't postponed the whole season for the very simple reason we don't have to make that decision at the moment.
"I will do what I can to try to keep the season in tact because it is an athlete's career.
"If you start removing events when you actually don't need to… everyone accepts this is a very fast moving environment.
"It wasn't that long ago we were talking about weeks, then we were down to days, now we're trying to assimilate information and changes within the hour, so I need to be very careful I'm not removing the earning potential from athletes anymore than I need to.
"At this moment, you don't actually have to make that decision."
Some listeners vented their fury at what they were hearing, even though Coe did later say "anything is possible" with regards to postponing the Olympics to next year.
One said: "Cloud cuckoo land must be a pleasing place to be right now. Seb Coe joins the IOC boss in insisting the Olympics might still go ahead. Bananas."
Another posted: "The arrogance of Seb Coe, the IAAF and IOC is breath-taking. No thought of athletes, support staff, construction workers, fans or anyone else. An early decision on the Olympics, is the only way of making it a fair one."
A fellow user said: "Seb Coe along with the IOC just get your acts together and cancel/postpone……it's sport, here in the real world serious things are happening."
One tweeted: "Seb Coe is talking b*****ks."
Another comment read: "Suspect Seb Coe is one of those down the pub with Stanley Johnson. Not in touch with reality."
And a fellow user said: "What is Seb Coe on about? There's plenty of "information." Utterly ridiculous not to postpone the #Olympics2020."
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