International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound believes the IOC has already decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympics.

The IOC has given itself four weeks to decide on the future of this summer's Games, which are due to start on 24 July.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound, a former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told USA Today.

"The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on 24 July, that much I know."

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Pound believes the IOC will announce its decision soon, adding: "It will come in stages. We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense." 

The report said the games, scheduled for 24 July to 9 August were likely to be held in 2021, with the details to be worked out in the next four weeks.

A postponement would be a blow for the host country, Japan, which has pumped in more than $12 billion of investment, and huge sums are also at stake for sponsors and broadcasters.

But a groundswell of concern from athletes - already struggling to train as gyms, stadiums and swimming pools close around the world - appears to be tipping the balance, along with the cancellation of other major sports events.

More than 337,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus worldwide and over 14,600 have died in a pandemic that the World Health Organisation said was accelerating.

The IOC and the Japanese government have both edged back from weeks of blanket insistence the Games would go ahead, announcing a month-long consultation on scenarios including postponement.

The Olympics have never before been delayed, though they were cancelled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during the two world wars, and major Cold War boycotts disrupted the Moscow and Los Angeles Games in 1980 and 1984 respectively.