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International Olympic Committee to make decision on Tokyo 2020 in four weeks

The Tokyo Games could be delayed a year. Credit: AP

The International Olympic Committee has finally changed its tune and rather than continue to insist the Tokyo Games will go ahead as scheduled, has given itself four more weeks before making a final call on what to do.

This is the first time the all-powerful Executive Board has put a deadline on their decision-making.

Maybe they were prompted by the most powerful sports team in the Olympic movement, the US Track and Field team, who called for a postponement on Saturday, or maybe they finally realised how their apparent ‘head-in-the-sand’ stance was playing out in the real world.

I suspect it was the Americans who caused the decisive jolt.

Pressure will come from broadcast partners too - the television rights cost American giants Comcast the best part of £4 billion and having spent that, they’re never going to commit to a Games which doesn’t include their country’s top athletes.

US Track and Field team called for a postponement. Credit: AP

Whatever the reasons, by mid-April, the IOC will outline their intentions, whether that be to carry on, or far more likely to implement plan B, C or D.

Those contingencies could range from a curtailed, slimmed down Games behind closed doors, to a year-long postponement - everything is on the table. But as coronavirus-related news increases in its grimness by the day, I’m not sure when that decision arrives many will care too much.

It’s likely though the most popular outcome, among athletes and fans, will be to delay for a year and not to mess around with the format. It’s not perfect of course but it is probably the fairest.

Hopefully by next summer this dreadful disease will be no more than a painful memory and a full, restorative and unapologetic Tokyo 2021 would help us all with our rehabilitation.

If they try to squeeze it in this year, it will not only be compromised, but will leave a nasty taste in the mouth for an awful lot of people all over the world.