London: The postponed Tokyo Olympics 2020 would be cancelled if not held in 2021, the  International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has said.

Tokyo Olympics was put off to next year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Now, it is scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

Also read: How much will the postponed Tokyo Olympics cost IOC?

Speaking to BBC Sport, Bach said, “You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty.”

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said it was important to contain the virus to host the Olympics in 2021. And, Bach agreed and said Japan had made it clear that 2021 was “the last option”.

Also read: Tokyo Olympics 2020 postponed due to coronavirus

“Quite frankly, I have some understanding for this, because you cannot forever employ 3,000, or 5,000, people in an Organising Committee,” said Bach.

“You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty. You cannot have so much overlapping with a future Olympic Games, so I have some understanding for this approach by our Japanese partners,” he added.

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Last month, Bach had said the postponed Games would cost the IOC “several hundred million US dollars”.

“Although it is too early to give an exact figure, we already know that we have to shoulder several hundred million US dollars of postponement costs. This is why we also need to look into and review all the services that we provide for these postponed Games,” Bach wrote in a letter titled “Olympism and Corona” to the Olympic movement.

He added, “With the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are all living in much uncertainty. At this point in time, this uncertainty is far from subsiding. We are all only beginning to understand the far-reaching consequences of the coronavirus crisis around the world. What is certain, however, is that this pandemic has affected and will affect all areas of society, including all of us in the world of sport, significantly.”