Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee made a statement that he estimates a three-month window to decide the fate of the Tokyo Olympics.
He made the statement over growing concerns on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak after Japan confirmed new cases.
Pound, who also a former Canadian swimming champion, has been an IOC member since 1978, 13 years longer than the current President Thomas Bach.
The senior member said that cancellation of the Games, instead of postponement or relocation, may be necessary if the disease is proven to be too dangerous for the event.
In an interview, he said, “In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?”
The decision about the Tokyo Games, which is scheduled on July 24, may be announced as late as May.
“A lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in there, building their studios,” he added.
Three new cases of COVID-19 infections were confirmed on Tuesday, among gym users in Chiba.
The city, north of Tokyo, is expected to be hosting Olympic taekwondo, fencing, wrestling, surfing and four Paralympic events.
Japan had also cancelled several sporting events due to the outbreak, including the postponement of all J-League football until March 15.
Local competitions, interschool matches and martial arts tournaments also faced cancellations.
Despite of this, Pound continues to encourage athletes to keep training.
“As far as we all know you’re going to be in Tokyo,” he said, “All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual. So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation.”