The International Olympic Committee says it's fully committed to staging the Tokyo 2020 games as scheduled despite fears over the coronavirus.
Their clarification followed a suggestion from Japan's Olympics Minister that the Games could be pushed back to later in the year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Seiko Hashimoto claimed the Japanese government's contract with the IOC allows for a postponement - as long as they're rescheduled before the end of 2020.
She added that Japan has already spent around 1.35 trillion yen (€11.3 billion) preparing for the games, with 120 trillion of government funding going toward the Olympic Stadium and a further 30 billion being made available for the Paralympics.
Previously, IOC board member Dick Pound warned that Tokyo 2020 was more likely to be cancelled rather than postponed if coronavirus fears strengthened.
But, an IOC statement says they will push ahead with the summer Olympics as planned from July 24 to August 9, and asked athletes to continue their preparations as normal.
The statement in full read:
The IOC EB heard a report on all the measures taken so far to address the coronavirus situation, which was followed by a comprehensive discussion.
A joint task force had already been created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization (WHO). The IOC EB appreciates and supports the measures being taken, which constitute an important part of Tokyo’s plans to host safe and secure Games.
The IOC will continue to follow the advice of WHO, as the leading United Nations agency on this topic. The IOC EB expressed its thanks to WHO for its continued valuable advice and cooperation.
It also praised the great unity and solidarity of the athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations and governments. It welcomed their close collaboration and flexibility with regard to the preparations for the Games, and particularly the qualification events. All stakeholders continue to work closely together to address the challenges of the coronavirus.
The IOC EB encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The IOC will keep supporting the athletes by providing the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website.