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IOC: Tokyo Olympics to go ahead, no 'drastic' action despite coronavirus outbreak

The new date means the Olympics will take place almost exactly a year later than planned. Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee does not plan any "drastic" decisions about the Tokyo 2020 Games, saying on Tuesday it remains fully committed to the event being staged in July despite the global spread of the coronavirus.

Following discussions with the international sports federations, the IOC said that changes would need to be made to the qualifiers but it plans to go ahead with the Games, which are due to take place from July 24 to Aug. 9.

The statement read: "The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage.

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"Any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive. The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can."

The statement was released less than an hour after UEFA postponed this year's European championship to 2021.

Speculation about whether the Olympics can be held has mounted by the day due to concerns about the virus, which has infected almost 190,000 people and killed over 7,500 worldwide, with the epicentre now being Europe according to the World Health Organisation.

Sports competitions have come to a halt in many parts of the world, wreaking havoc with Olympic qualifiers across 33 sports.

The IOC on Monday scrapped any remaining boxing qualifiers due to the outbreak. So far 57% of the 11,000 athletes have already secured their spot.

It said qualification could also be based on ranking or historical results as well.

"For the remaining 43% of places, the IOC will work with the international federations to make any necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo 2020," it added.

"The IOC has confidence that the many measures being taken by many authorities around the world will help contain the situation of the COVID-19 virus."