By May 2020, the International Olympic Committee will assess if the international coronavirus situation warrants canceling the Tokyo Olympics.
Dick Pound, a Canadian lawyer and the longest serving member of the IOC since 1978, told The Associated press in an exclusive interview that if the situation has not improved by late May, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation” in reference to the Olympics.
IOC member Dick Pound says Tokyo Olympic organizers have until late May to see if the virus is under control. If not, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation.” https://t.co/e90SS6Px8B
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) February 25, 2020
“This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not?'” Pound added, according to Business Insider.
Pound continued by saying that the IOC will consult with the World Health Organization to see if a cancellation is necessary, but he reassures that at this point, the Olympics in Tokyo are still on.
“As far as we all know you’re going to be in Tokyo. All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”
The Olympics have only ever been cancelled during wartime. In 1940, the Olympics were scheduled to be held in Tokyo as well, but were cancelled because of Japan’s war with China and World War II.
Japan reported that it is spending $12.6 billion to host the Olympics, but the national audit board says the figure is closer to twice that, according to Business Insider.
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