New coronavirus cases in Japan have led to growing concerns that the spread of the virus could have an impact on the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. As the Guardian reports, Dick Pound, a senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member who has been on the IOC since 1978, believes an outright cancellation — rather than postponement or relocation — could be on the cards.
Pound also said that there no decision needs to be taken now, estimating that there is a two-to-three month window to decide the fate of the Olympic Games this summer.
“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 told Associated Press. “A lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in there, building their studios.”
Other sporting events in Japan have already been called off due to coronavirus. J-League football has been postponed until March 15, while training for 80,000 Olympic volunteers has been delayed for at least two months, the Guardian reports.
Japan is not the only country where professional sport has been affected. In Italy, five Serie A games will be played behind closed doors, including Juventus’ match against Inter Milan. Eleven people have died in Italy and more than 300 tested positive for the virus, which caused mass hysteria and shut down Milan Fashion Week over the weekend.