IOC to discuss coronavirus impact
with stakeholders as pressure mounts
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[March 17, 2020]
By Karolos Grohmann
ATHENS (Reuters) - The International
Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday kicked off a round of internal
briefings and discussions with federations and national Olympic
Committees to assess the impact of the coronavirus on the Tokyo
Speculation about whether the July 24 to Aug. 9 Games can be held
has mounted by the day due to concerns about the virus, which has
infected almost 180,000 people and killed over 7,000 worldwide, with
the epicenter now Europe.
Sports competitions have come to a halt in Europe, hampering
athletes' preparations for the Games.
No decision is expected from the IOC this week, with tens of
billions of dollars already invested in the Games infrastructure and
venues by Japan, the IOC and global and domestic sponsors and
broadcast rights holders.
The IOC and organizers in Japan have maintained that the Olympics
will be go ahead as planned, but the virus has wreaked havoc with
the qualification tournaments.
"There will be a series of conference calls over the coming days to
discuss the issues," a source with the Olympic movement told Reuters
of the talks.
"The IOC will be informing federations and NOCs about the situation
and discuss with them issues linked to the Games and the
qualification process as well. There are problems there."
The IOC on Monday scrapped all Olympic boxing qualifying tournaments
to safeguard the health of athletes and spectators but said there
would still be some form of qualifying event for the sport for
[to top of second column]
Toshiro Muto, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee CEO, addresses the
Olympic torch relay during a news conference, as the spread of the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Tokyo, Japan March 17,
2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato
It said it was still, "fully committed to the success of the Olympic
Games Tokyo 2020".
Thousands of Olympic hopefuls are currently either unable to travel,
train or compete due to severe restrictions in dozens of countries,
raising questions about the level and quality of competition in
Tokyo should the Games go ahead.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that Group of
Seven leaders had agreed to support a "complete" Olympics, but
dodged questions about whether any of the leaders had brought up the
possibility of postponement.
In a unprecedented meeting with other G7 leaders by videoconference
to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, Abe said he had told them: "We
are doing everything in our power to prepare (for the Games), and we
want to aim for a complete event as proof that mankind can defeat
the new coronavirus."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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