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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

'No need for any drastic decisions' on Olympics, IOC says

Speculation amid coronavirus outbreak is 'counterproductive,' committee says

The spreading coronavirus outbreak has caused the cancellation of qualifying events for the Tokyo Summer Olympics.   © Reuters

GENEVA/TOKYO -- The International Olympic Committee said Tuesday that it "remains fully committed" to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, dismissing speculation that the event soon would be postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"With more than four months to go before the Games, there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage," the committee said in a statement.

While acknowledging the growing outbreak, which has surpassed 180,000 cases worldwide, the IOC said that "any speculation at this moment would be counterproductive."

The IOC held a teleconference with stakeholders Tuesday to discuss how to handle canceled qualifying events for the Olympics.

About 43% of slots for the Olympic field have yet to be filled. The IOC is asking sports federations to consider athletes' global rankings and past records if qualifying events cannot be held. The committee also is considering allowing more athletes to compete this summer than planned.

The roster of athletes for the Summer Games needs to be finalized by June 30.

IOC President Thomas Bach has said he will follow the World Health Organization's recommendations on whether to hold the Olympics this summer.

But with the coronavirus outbreak continuing to spread worldwide, "if we're still in the crisis by the end of May, I can't see how the Games can happen," French Olympic Committee chief Denis Masseglia told Reuters on Monday.

One option would be to delay the Tokyo Olympics by a year or two. But it is unclear whether this is viable, as the various sports federations already have scheduled competitions for 2021 and 2022. Sponsors also could oppose holding the event so close to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, since it could draw spectators away from those competitions.

Meanwhile, Kohzo Tashima, vice president of the Japan Olympic Committee, said Tuesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Tashima is also head of the Japan Football Association.

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