Travel ban would prevent Australian athletes competing in Tokyo: PM

Sydney: Australia's Prime Minister says the country's worldwide travel ban applies to Olympic athletes – comments that will heap further pressure on the IOC as calls to postpone the Tokyo Games continue to mount.

The IOC and Japanese organisers maintain the Olympics will go ahead as scheduled.Credit:Bloomberg

If the Games do go ahead in July under the shadow of the coronavirus outbreak, the Australian government's travel ban could prevent Australian athletes from participating, Scott Morrison said.

While Mr Morrison said the final call on participation was up to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), he was in no doubt that the travel restrictions applied to all nationals.

"The simple answer is that we have a complete travel ban to the rest of the world, so the Smartraveller advice and the advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, I think, is pretty clear there," he told the Seven Network on Sunday.

"The health of all Australians is the most important thing and there's nothing more important than that."

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IOC president Thomas Bach, who has insisted the Games will go ahead as planned, said on Sunday that rescheduling an Olympic Games was not as simple as rescheduling a soccer match.

"The Olympic Games cannot be moved like a football game next Saturday," he told Germany's SWR broadcaster. "It is a complex undertaking and you can only act responsibly when you have a clear decision-making foundation."

He also ruled out cancelling the July 24 to August 9 event.

"A cancellation of the Games would be the least fair solution. A cancellation would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes of 206 Olympic committees," he said.

He did concede on Sunday that Tokyo organisers had started drafting alternatives to holding the Olympics this summer.

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