After weeks of uncertainty over its future amid the global coronavirus pandemic, it has been agreed that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be delayed until the summer of 2021 at the latest.
The news comes after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC President Thomas Bach held a telephone conference at 11:00am GMT on Tuesday, where it was agreed that the best route forward was to postpone the Games.
After that call, Abe confirmed to reporters in a media briefing that he had agreed with Bach’s suggestion that the Games be delayed until next year, with the Tokyo Olympics now set to be held by the summer of 2021 at the latest.
The decision means the Olympics will be postponed for the first time during peacetime in its 124-year modern history.
“We asked President Bach to consider postponement of about one year to make it possible for athletes to play in the best condition, and to make the event a safe and secure one for spectators,” Abe told reporters (via Reuters).
“President Bach said he is in agreement 100 percent.”
Earlier on Tuesday, anonymous sources told Reuters that the IOC’s previously set timeline of four weeks to come to a decision would not be needed, with a decision set to be “announced in the coming days. It is not a matter of weeks, but days.”
That statement follows hot on the heels of comments made by longstanding IOC member Dick Pound, who on Monday told USA Today during a telephone interview that, “On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided.
“The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”