(SGI+) The Olympic Games will not be held in Tokyo this summer. A joint statement made by the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, said that they will have to be rescheduled “to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.” The New York Times reported that the Games are likely to open on July 23, 2021. The I.O.C. said a final decision could come in weeks. Whatever new dates are set, the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. They were due to take place in the Japanese capital from July 24 to Aug. 9, but the Japanese government has taken additional border security measures because of the disease.

The IOC was originally expected to take a decision in the matter in four weeks’ time, but the two parties decided to act immediately as the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the Covid-19 pandemic is “accelerating.”

The international governing bodies for swimming and track & field had already proposed the one-year delay, followed by the International Federation of Sports Climbing. The first national team that withdrew from the event before the announcement was Canada, followed by Australia. The postponement of the Games will create huge problems for sports marketing, adding to those already caused by the cancellation of the NBA tournament and other major international competitions.

The 2020 Summer Olympics in 2021 will feature some popular outdoor sports disciplines: sports climbing (debut), canoeing, skateboarding (debut), surfing (debut) and mountain biking.