Tokyo 2020: Decision on delaying Olympics because of coronavirus could be made on Tuesday

By Dan RoanBBC sports editor
Woman wearing a mask at a bus stop with Tokyo 2020 advertising
The Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled to run from 24 July to 9 August

A decision to postpone the Olympic Games could be made on Tuesday, BBC Sport understands.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given itself a deadline of four weeks to consider delaying Tokyo 2020, which is due to start on 24 July, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has said cancellation of the event is not on the agenda.

There has been mounting pressure from a host of Olympic committees and athletes demanding a quicker decision.

On Monday, IOC member Dick Pound said the event, scheduled to run until 9 August, will be postponed by one year.

On Tuesday, an IOC spokesperson said: "Today, the IOC is discussing with the Japanese government, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and the IOC executive board about the scenario planning including the postponement of the Games and will communicate in due course."

It comes with the British Olympic Association (BOA) set to call for a postponement following a meeting of sports bodies later on Tuesday.

BOA chairman Hugh Robertson has already said Great Britain is unlikely to send a team to Tokyo this summer.

"I really don't see that there's any way that this can press ahead with a start in July of this year," he told the BBC's Today programme.

"We've always said that there were two things that for us are really important here. The first was preserving the competitive integrity of the Olympic Games - when the country is effectively locked down, when athletes can't train, and when I get to say some of them may catch coronavirus. There's no way you can preserve that competitive integrity.

"Secondly, there's a really serious question about whether it would be appropriate to hold the Olympic Games against this backdrop."

Athletes based in the UK face challenges in their preparations after the government imposed strict restrictions that keep people in their homes in a bid to fight coronavirus.

British Olympic champion Callum Skinner - who fronts competitor-led movement Global Athlete - says both the Olympic and Paralympic Games should be rescheduled "until the Covid-19 global pandemic is under control".

The former cyclist, who won team sprint gold and sprint silver at Rio 2016, has warned that boycotts could ensue, with the health of athletes at risk.

"People think Olympians are superheroes but they are normal people and fall ill like everybody else," said the 27-year-old Scot.

Canada became the first major country to withdraw from both events on Sunday, while Australia said the Games cannot go ahead.

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committee said it had taken "the difficult decision" to pull out after consulting athletes, sports groups, and the government.

USA Track and Field, athletics' US governing body, has also called for a postponement.