The Olympic Games could be held in 2022 if coronavirus stops it going ahead this summer, according to a member of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
Haruyuki Takahashi has said a postponement of two years is more likely than a full cancellation because of the financial ramifications for the International Olympic Committee.
Officials from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 have repeatedly insisted the Games will go ahead as planned in July and August.
But Takahashi, one of 25 members of the Organising Committee’s executive board, told the Wall Street Journal: ‘We’ll have to start talking about this seriously from April. I don’t think the Games could be cancelled, it’d be a delay.
‘The International Olympic Committee would be in trouble if there’s a cancellation. American TV rights alone provide them with a huge amount.’
Takahashi stated that a two-year delay would be the most feasible solution because sports schedules for the next year have largely been decided.
A postponement until later this year would mean the Games clashing with major professional sports leagues like the NFL, which would cause problems for NBC, the Olympic broadcasters in America.
Takahashi also does not think staging the Olympics behind closed doors is realistic because of how much money they would lose from tickets and other sales.
However, putting the Tokyo Games back two years would spell disaster for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, due to take place in July and August 2022.