THE outbreak of coronavirus will not prevent the Tokyo Olympics going ahead in 2020, organisers have claimed.
On Tuesday, the IOC released a statement insisting there is "no need" to postpone the games.
That is despite football's Euro 2020 being put back a year amid major cancellations across the globe's sporting events between now and the summer.
The statement read: "The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive."
Preliminary events are scheduled to begin in Japan on July 22 with the Olympics drawing to a close on August 9.
Over 1,500 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the country, reportedly including the head of the Japanese Football Association, Kozo Tashima.
But the IOC wants athletes to continue training for the games as if they were going ahead as planned.
The statement continued: "The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can.
"We will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs, and by providing them with the latest information and developments.
"The IOC has confidence that the many measures being taken by many authorities around the world will help contain the situation of the COVID-19 virus."
Across sport, several major figures have been criticised for reacting slowly to the pandemic – from the Premier League football to Formula 1.
And this latest announcement follows a confident claim by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe that the outbreak will be under control by the start of the games.
He said on Monday: "We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned.
"I want to hold the Olympics and Paralympics perfectly, as proof that the human race will conquer the new coronavirus, and I gained support for that from the G-7 leaders."
However support for Japanese officials and the IOC may drain fast if the rising number of coronavirus cases does not fall by the end of spring.
French Olympic Committee president Denis Masseglia admitted yesterday that the crisis must realistically be over by May to give the games a chance of going ahead.
He told Reuters: "My feeling is that if we're still in the crisis by the end of May, I can't see how the games can happen.
"If we are beyond the peak and the situation is getting better, questions will arise about who qualifies, but we will find the least worst solution."
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