The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are “unlikely” to go ahead this year, says one of the architects of London 2012.
Sir Keith Mills, creator of the Air Miles and Nectar loyalty schemes, was chief executive of London’s bid for the Games and deputy chair of the organising committee.
He told the BBC: “Personally, sitting here looking at the pandemic around the world, it looks unlikely I have to say.
“If I was in the shoes of the organising committee in Tokyo, I would be making plans for a cancellation and I’m sure they have plans for a cancellation. They’ve got another month or so before they need to make a call.
“I think they’ll leave it to absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically, in case the vaccinations roll out faster than we all hoped. It’s a tough call.”
Tokyo 2020 chiefs took the unprecdented step of delaying the Olympics and Paralympics a year.
But with this weekend marking six months until the Olympic opening ceremony is scheduled to take place, the Games remain in serious doubt.
Organisers defiant that Games will go ahead
Organisers insist they still expect to stage the Games, and with crowds in attendance.
“Our position remains – we will deliver the Games,” spokesman Masa Takaya told the BBC.
“The IOC [International Olympic Committee] have made it clear that they are absolutely on the same page as Tokyo 2020.
“We are not willing to see the Games taking place behind closed doors. We will see in spring how we can accommodate spectators inside the venues.”
More than 11,000 athletes are due to travel to Japan for the Olympics and Parlympics.
Domestic sponsors have agreed to roll their contracts into 2021 as the cost of delivering the Games has grown £2bn to £11.5bn.