It is official: the 2020 Olympics has been postponed. After weeks of speculation, the ICC have announced that the summer games will be delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
After UEFA and CONMEBOL made the decision to delay the European Championship and Copa America, both also initially scheduled to take place this summer, all eyes turned to the ICC to see whether they’d follow suit. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has now confirmed that Tokyo 2020 will be pushed back as well.
“We agreed that a postponement would be the best way to ensure that the athletes are in peak condition when they compete and to guarantee the safety of the spectators,” Abe announced to the public after meeting with Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee.
No specific date has been set but there is a time frame. The Olympic Games will not be held this year but the tournament must be staged before the summer of 2021, with the competition avoiding a clash with Euro 2021 and Copa America 2021.
The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the ICC stressed that the safety of the athletes and the millions who would flock to watch the tournament is paramount. However, their hands were forced by the recent decision from Canada and Australia to ban all athletes from competing amid the COVID-19 crisis.
This means football players will not be making the trip to Japan this summer, which would give the European domestic leagues more time to wrap up the season. The likes of Germany, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, France, and Ivory Coast qualified for the men’s competition while the 2019 Women’s World Cup finalists USWNT and Netherlands booked their tickets alongside Japan, Brazil, and Canada for the women’s football event.