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World health would have to be at stake to cancel Tokyo Games says IOC's Pound

Video credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on February 27, 2020 - Duration: 00:49s
Says one extreme scenario might involve holding games in empty venues
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World health would have to be at stake to cancel Tokyo Games says IOC's Pound

MONTREAL, CANADA (FEBRUARY 26, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) MEMBER DICK POUND SAYING WHEN ASKED WOULD YOU EXPECT THE WHO (WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION) TO WEIGH-IN AT SOME POINT: "I would think so.

If it gets to the stage of a pandemic and that has yet to be determined.

Yes.

That's it's role to say 'Look travel would be dangerous in these circumstances and you shouldn't do it and you shouldn't hold the event'.

I think you could press on that and say 'What do you mean by travel?'

'What do you mean by the event, are there mitigating things we can do, for example, have the event but encourage people to stay home and watch it on their platforms as opposed to showing up in a crowded stadium and coughing all over other people in the stadium.

So there are mitigating factors that might still allow you to do the event but under somewhat different conditions." STORY: For this year's Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled or postponed over the coronavirus outbreak, the world's health would have to be at stake, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound said on Wednesday (February 26).

Pound said it is not impossible to reschedule an Olympics for a year later but wanted athletes who are training for Tokyo to know the IOC is fully committed to having them at the opening ceremonies on July 24.

"Only if there is the worst possible outcome of this virus and it becomes a real pandemic or world health is at stake then we reluctantly have to say well that's more important frankly than the Olympics," Pound told Reuters at the Montreal law firm where he is a partner.

"But we will do our very best to make sure that you get your Olympic opportunity." Pound said any decision on whether to cancel or postpone the Olympics had a lot of moving parts and would involve the IOC, Tokyo authorities, governments and international agencies who all felt it would not be a safe scenario to hold the event.

Pound said the IOC remains in constant contact with the World Health Organization and would need that organisation to weigh in over whether to hold or cancel the Games and if other options should be considered.

Pound suggested one extreme way around a complete cancellation might be staging the games but "encourage people to stay home and watch it on their platforms as opposed to showing up and coughing all over other people in the stadium." Pound's comments came on the same day Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a two-week curb on sports events as two more coronavirus deaths in the country heightened concerns the outbreak might scupper the Tokyo Olympics.

A number of international sports events have been hit by the coronavirus, with some competitions being postponed and others cancelled outright.

The flu-like virus is believed to have originated in a market selling wildlife in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has infected about 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700, the vast majority in China.

(Production: Peter Bullock)

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