Canada and the Westfield Matildas reached their respective women's Olympic qualifying tournament finals, allowing their two national teams to be one the 12 teams with a chance to win an Olympic gold medal at the 2020 women's Olympic football tournament. But the wide-spread of COVID-19 will stall gold medal aspirations for thousands of athletes this summer.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) stated the decision to stop Canadian teams from going to the Olympic and Paralympic Games (CPC) in the Summer of 2020 in a press release on Sunday, March 22. The decision was backed by the COC and CPC's Athletes' Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada.
In the statement, the COC not only announced its decision to not send their teams to Tokyo but called for the International Olympic Committee and the World Health Organization to postpone the event for one year.
"The COC and CPC urgently call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year and we offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring. While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community."
The COC expressed that its request is not only to protect athletes but for the sake of public health.
"This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow."
And on Monday, March 23, The Australian Olympic Committee broke the ice its athletes.
"The AOC says Australian athletes should prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021, following the IOC's announcement of a potential postponement of this year's Games and changes in public health landscape in Australia and across the globe."
This comes after the Football Federation Australia decided to green-light the final stages of the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League. The controversial decisions made by Australia's football officials were very different from its Olympic committee.
The Olympic Games are still scheduled from July 24 through August 9, but the International Olympic Committee will most likely give in as pressure continues to intensify. The only rational dates would be in the winter or next Summer. But what about all the other football competitions that are already taking place during that time and the ones being rescheduled competitions?
Well, that is going to be one of the most difficult tasks for league, conference and committee leaders across the world in sports history.
LiveSoccerTV will do its best to keep you up to date with all things women's football during these thought times. Check out the guide to all women's soccer leagues impacted by the pandemic and major updates.