UK Athletics chairman Nic Coward has claimed decisions need to be made soon on Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

UK Athletics chairman Nic Coward has added to calls for the date of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be addressed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to the increased pressure caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Coward is the latest to suggest the IOC takes decisive action to provide more certainty around the fate of the Games.

The former general secretary at the Premier League, who assumed his role at UK Athletics last month, has expressed concerns over the strain placed on athletes to prepare amid the pandemic.

"To leave it where it is is creating so much pressure in the system,” he told the BBC.

"It now has to be addressed.

"Facility operators are making understandable decisions to close facilities on which our athletes rely to get themselves ready for the biggest test of their careers and their sporting lives.

"The intensity of pressure on people right now is too great, and decisions have to be made soon."

Speculation has intensified over Tokyo 2020’s hosting of the Olympic Games in recent days, with the event still due to open on July 24 in the Japanese capital.

Concerns over the qualification have been repeatedly raised by athletes, with some National Olympic Committees (NOC) also calling for greater clarity.

The IOC has said revised qualification processes will be available at the start of April.

Access to training facilities has also been an issue raised, with several facilities closing in various countries as increased measures are taken to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Slovenian Olympic Committee highlighted both concerns in a statement following a conference call with the IOC earlier this week.

Uncertainty over training and qualification have intensified calls for a postponement ©Getty Images
Uncertainty over training and qualification have intensified calls for a postponement ©Getty Images

The organisation questioned whether athletes travelling to Japan would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, while stressing that the health of the athletes would ultimately be their main concern.

The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports yesterday wrote to IOC President Thomas Bach to request the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games does not take place before the coronavirus situation is under firm control on a global scale.

Bach has told the New York Times that the IOC was considering alternative scenarios but would not speculate on the future of the Games in Tokyo.

"We don’t know what the situation will be,” he said.

"Of course we are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organisations or professional leagues in that we are four and a half months away from the Games.

"They are even more optimistic than we are, because most of them have postponed their events until April or the end of May.

"We are talking about the end of July."

Bach has repeatedly insisted the IOC is following the advice of experts, such as the World Health Organization, to ensure the health of athletes.

Several NOCs have also come out in support of the IOC position to wait to make a decision on whether Tokyo 2020 begins as planned on July 24.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee is among those to back the IOC stance.