The Olympic Games will be under the microscope in the coming weeks as the coronavirus outbreak continues to decimate sporting events across the globe.
Annual tournaments have been purged from the sporting calendar around the world but with the Olympics not due to take place until late-July, speculation will continue to build around the likelihood of staging the Games.
RadioTimes.com rounds up everything you need to know about how the coronavirus spread has – and could – affect the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
When do the Olympic Games start?
The Games are set to start on Friday 24th July 2020 and run until Sunday 9th August 2020.
Will the Olympics be postponed due to coronavirus?
As things stand, there are no changes to the plan. The 2020 Olympic Games will go ahead as planned without alterations.
However, much depends on the spread of the virus in the coming weeks and months. Around 700 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in Japan by Friday 13th March, considerably less than China (87,000) – the source of the outbreak – and South Korea (7,000).
Postponement is more likely than outright cancellation, though the logistics involved would provide an immense challenge.
Could the Olympics be cancelled?
It’s a near-unthinkable situation, but all options will remain on the table.
Hypothetically, the Olympics could be cancelled if countries apply serious pressure to Japan, but the authorities have been quick to quash any suggestion of a point-blank cancellation.
What have the IOC said?
A statement from 12th March said: “We remain absolutely in line with our Japanese hosts in our commitment to delivering a safe Olympic Games in July this year.
“At the same time, the world is facing challenges that are also impacting sport. But with 19 weeks before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the many measures being taken now by authorities all around the world give us confidence and keep us fully committed to delivering Olympic Games that can bring the world together in peace.”
What has Japan said?
Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto has shot down all talk of cancellation: “The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement — absolutely not at all.
The President of the Organising Committee Yoshiro Mori said: “I am totally not considering this.
“The situation changes every day. It changes depending on the place. That’s why we need to respond in a flexible manner.”
When asked about whether a further decision would be made in time, he replied: “I’m not God so I don’t know.”
What did Donald Trump say?
Trump became the first world leader to demand the Games be delayed.
In March, he said: “I would say maybe they postpone it for a year.
“I like that better than having empty stadiums all over the place.”
Just a day later, Trump tweeted: “Just had a great conversation with Prime Minister Abe of Japan.
“I told him that the just completed Olympic venue is magnificent. He has done an incredible job, one that will make him very proud.
“Good things will happen for Japan and their great Prime Minister. Lots of options!”