The European Olympic Committees and Oceania National Olympic Committees have reiterated their support to the International Olympic Committee ©Getty Images

The European Olympic Committees (EOC), Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and Panam Sports have reiterated their support to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as it continues to prepare for Tokyo 2020 as planned.

The bodies expressed their backing following a statement from the IOC, which claimed there is no need for "any drastic decisions at this stage" regarding this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This is despite more than 220,000 coronavirus cases being reported worldwide and just under 9,000 deaths, leading to countries taking extreme action to halt the spread.

"In this time of unprecedented disruption to our daily lives caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, our first priority is to ensure the safety of those around us, in particular our families, communities and wider public," an EOC statement said.

"We are living through an unpredictable crisis and, as such, it is important that we have one policy, expressed by the IOC, and we follow that policy in unison."

They were all recently present on a conference call with the IOC and National Olympic Committees (NOC), organised after concerns were raised regarding the qualification process for Tokyo 2020. 

A number of qualifying events have been cancelled or postponed due to the spread of the virus.

The IOC held similar calls with International Federations and athlete representatives. 

"ONOC fully supports the IOC in its commitment to stage the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," said ONOC President Robin Mitchell.

"We share the view that we must be realistic but not panic.

"There are many details to sort out for qualification, and for participation for the Games themselves no solution will be perfect, but we will work in solidarity to find the best way forward."

The IOC have been criticised for continuing to prepare for Tokyo 2020, despite the coronavirus crisis ©Getty Images
The IOC have been criticised for continuing to prepare for Tokyo 2020, despite the coronavirus crisis ©Getty Images

There has been criticism of the IOC's stance, however.

Spanish Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco said he would prefer Tokyo 2020 to be postponed, while IOC member Hayley Wickenheiser said insisting the Olympics will go ahead as planned is "irresponsible".

Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece has also accused the IOC of leaving athletes "at risk". 

The continental bodies have pledged to remain "united" with the IOC, despite the criticism.

"The African Olympic and sports movement is convinced that the IOC's position is the correct one, and welcomes the sense of responsibility shown by its President, Thomas Bach, who is making considerable efforts to ensure that the Olympic Games are preserved, which is what we all want to happen," said ANOCA President Mustapha Berraf.

"ANOCA and all its representatives will remain united under all circumstances behind the IOC President, and will contribute efficiently and responsibly to the fight against this global pandemic to ensure the protection of the African athletes, who have made so many sacrifices in the pursuit of their dream of taking part in the Olympic Games in Tokyo."

Panam Sports President Neven Ilic was another to pledge his support. 

"The Panam Sports family unanimously supports the IOC with all the measures taken with the International Federations to address the issues facing the NOCs and athletes in the current qualification opportunities," he said.