Postponing Olympics better than playing to empty stadia: Trump

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Tokyo: US President Donald Trump has suggested that the Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9, should be postponed amid the worsening global spread of coronavirus.

Trump on Thursday told reporters at the White House that postponing the Games for a year would be better than seeing "empty stadiums all over the place", reports Xinhua news agency.

"I think, if you cancel it, make it a year later, that's a better alternative than doing it with no crowd," he said.

Trump talked to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by telephone early on Friday morning, Japan time, Japan's national broadcaster NHK reported, but did not reveal whether they touched upon the Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, organisers of the Tokyo Games have said that the preparation for the July 24 Games will continue. The Tokyo 2020 committee issued the comment after Trump's suggestion.

"The committee, the IOC and the IPC hope to continue their preparations for holding safe Games from July as scheduled in cooperation with the Japanese government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and others," NHK reported.

The committee said it will do so while "closely watching the situation and taking advice from the World Health Organization (WHO)".

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary and government spokesman Yoshihide Suga reiterated on Thursday that the Games will be held as scheduled after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

The IOC chief Thomas Bach also stressed in Olympia, Greece at the flame-lighting ceremony that the Games will go ahead as planned.

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