IOC to hold talks with sports bosses amid coronavirus crisis


TOKYO, Mar 16 (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will hold talks with the heads of international sports organizations on Tuesday in response to the coronavirus outbreak, a source close to an international federation said.

The IOC will also hold an unscheduled Executive Board meeting by conference call on Tuesday to discuss internally, another source said. However, a decision is not expected that same day, other people said.

With less than five months to go until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to begin on July 24, there are questions about whether they can go on.

The virus, which originated in China late last year, has killed more than 6,000 people worldwide and infected more than 160,000.

It has wreaked havoc on the world sports calendar, leading to the cancellation or postponement of some Olympic qualifying events and has raised concerns about whether the Games should be canceled or postponed.

However, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Tokyo 2020 organizers have reiterated that preparations are underway to carry them out as planned.

Abe told parliament on Monday that he wanted the Tokyo Games to represent a global victory over the coronavirus pandemic, Kyodo Newswire reported.

However, according to a telephone poll by Kyodo, Abe’s fellow citizens are less optimistic about the prospects for the Games, and 69% of respondents did not believe Tokyo could organize the meeting as planned.

Kyodo did not say how many people were questioned in the survey.

(Report by Jack Tarrant; additional report by Antoni Slodkowski, Tim Kelly and Karolos Grohmann. Edited in Spanish by Janisse Huambachano)