Tokyo 2020: Team GB unlikely to go to Olympics amid coronavirus pandemic, says BOA chairman
BOA chair Hugh Robertson to Sky Sports News on not sending athletes to Tokyo: "We can't see any way that this can go ahead as things are constituted at the moment and I expect we will be joining Canada and Australia shortly"
Last Updated: 23/03/20 3:56pm
Great Britain are unlikely to send a team to the Tokyo Olympics this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, says British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Hugh Robertson.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), who have received criticism from sporting organisations and athletes for their stance so far to press ahead as planned, revealed on Sunday they had set a four-week deadline over whether to postpone its staging.
Team Canada announced they will not be sending athletes to Tokyo for either the Olympics or Paralympics "in the summer of 2020" due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Australian Olympic Committee called for it to be postponed and told its athletes to prepare for a Games in 2021 instead.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Robertson said: "I think it is very simple. If the virus continues as predicted by the Government, I don't think there is any way we can send a team.
"And I base that on two things. Firstly, I don't see any way that the athletes and Team GB could be ready by then.
"Elite training facilities are perfectly understandably and quite correctly closed around the country, so there is no way they could undertake the preparation they need to get ready for a Games.
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"Second, there is the appropriateness of holding an Olympic Games at a time like this. We are actually in a process where we are talking to all our sports. We will complete that over the next couple of days.
"At the end of that we have already said to the IOC that we think their four-week pause is absolutely the right thing to do.
"We can't see any way that this can go ahead as things are constituted at the moment and I expect we will be joining Canada and Australia shortly."
Almost 13,000 people worldwide have been killed by Covid-19, according to the latest World Health Organization figures, with cases in 187 countries, areas or territories.
Boris Johnson's official spokesperson has urged the IOC to make a "definitive decision" on postponing this summer's Games in Tokyo.
"Athletes are facing significant uncertainty in the current environment," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.
"Their health and safety, alongside that of sports fans and officials due to work at the Games must be absolutely paramount.
"We want the International Olympic Committee to make a definitive decision soon to bring clarity to all of those involved.
"The Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston set out yesterday that the IOC should be seriously considering postponing the Games."