"I don’t think the Games could be canceled. It would be a delay," Takahashi said suggesting that a postponement seems the most likely alternative
An executive board member of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 organizing committee said that the Olympics would most likely be postponed by one or two years if they could not go on as scheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Haruyuki Takahashi, who is one of the executive board's 25 members, said in an article published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that other alternatives — such as holding the Games without spectators or canceling them altogether — would have significant financial ramifications, reports the USA today.
"I don't think the Games could be canceled. It would be a delay," Takahashi said suggesting that a postponement seems the most likely alternative.
"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) would be in trouble if there's a cancellation. American TV rights alone provide them with a huge amount."
The IOC and the organizing committee have repeatedly said the Tokyo Olympics will go on as planned, beginning July 24.
Officials from both groups avoided publicly discussing any possible contingency plans for the Tokyo Olympics, to the point of claiming that a final decision on the Games has already been made.
"And the decision is that the Games go ahead," IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said at a news conference in Lausanne, Switzerland last week.
"That was made some time ago. We see no reason to change that decision."
The World Health Organization, there were more than 109,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus across 104 countries as of Monday. More than 3,800 people have died from the virus, including at least seven people in Japan.
The spread of coronavirus has already had a significant impact on international sports around the world.
In Italy, the government has suspended all sporting events through April 3 at the recommendation of the Italian Olympic Committee.
In Japan, preseason baseball games have been played in empty stadiums. And in the United States, professional sports leagues have altered media access protocols and discouraged athletes from signing autographs with fans.
US Olympic and Paralympic Committee also announced Monday that it has postponed a Team USA media summit that was scheduled for next week because of the coronavirus.
Any change to the Olympic Games, however, would have implications of a completely different magnitude. Postponement of one or two years would cause massive ripple effects throughout the international sporting calendar. Any other adjustment would have serious financial implications as well.