Global Athlete, an organisation representing potential Tokyo 2020 competitors, has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.
Calls for the cancellation or postponement of the Games have been rife in the past week, with the COVID-19 outbreak having a heavier impact globally than first thought.
In a statement, Global Athlete said: "As the world unites to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus, the IOC and IPC must do the same.
"To date both organisations have told athletes to continue to train and prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
"Athletes want to be part of a solution to ensure the Games are a success but under the current global restrictions that are limiting public gatherings as well as closing training facilities and borders, athletes do not have the ability to appropriately prepare for these Games and their health and safety must come first."
‘With the world in a declared pandemic, holding mega-sporting events including the Olympic Games demands a deep review and broader consultations than are occurring now, including with athletes and their representatives,” Executive Director @BrendanSchwab https://t.co/99VKckhaWe— World Players United (@WorldPlayersUtd) March 21, 2020
The organisation also empathised with the IOC, IPC and Tokyo 2020 organisers due to the challenges and costs that delaying the Games will bring and asked others to help aid a postponement.
"Finally, we call on broadcasters (NBC) and sponsors to adopt the same level of duty of care towards athletes by supporting the IOC and the IPC with flexibility and understanding during these uncharted times."
The statement comes after the National Olympic Committees of Norway, Brazil and Slovenia have all come out in favour of postponing the Olympics - a stance shared by USA Track and Field and US Swimming.
The Sports and Rights Alliance (SRA) and World Players Association (WPA) have also asked for athletes to have more of a say on whatever decisions are made by the IOC and IPC.
SRA and WPA have listed key principles for decision-makers to follow, including informing the public as best as possible, respecting human rights, engaging athletes and having a plan for the recovery process for which sport will need to take.
"With the world in a declared pandemic, holding mega-sporting events including the Olympic Games demands a deep review and broader consultations than are occurring now, including with athletes and their representatives," WPA executive director Brendan Schwab said.
“The International Olympic Committee needs to elevate its dialogue with the full range of those most affected beyond sponsors and governments to an open multi-stakeholder process that brings to the table as equals player associations as the representatives of athletes and others most at risk.”
There have been more than 308,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide with in excess of 13,000 people have died as a result.