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Sebastian Coe

Sebastian Coe

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Sebastian Coe

World athletics chief Sebastian Coe has warned that sports leaders may rebel against pandemic restrictions as they struggle to get major events back on track.

Coe expressed the frustrations felt by many sports chiefs when he said it was crucial to get top events started again even as the coronavirus takes a mounting toll around the world.

"We have to be guided by what governments, the WHO and local authorities are telling us, but we also have to make our own decisions and make sensible compromises," Coe, 63, said.

"There may be a moment when a sport decides that it is ready to stage events even if it is not always with the approval of those authorities.

"We will be respectful, but we have to make decisions in the best interest of our sport and our athletes."

Athletics has seen its calendar and finances badly hit by the postponement of this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The world athletics championships planned for 2021 have had to be pushed back by a year to allow for a provisional plan to stage the Tokyo Games next year instead. Coe said no one could give a cast-iron assurance that the Olympics will be held.

"Speculating about something that is over a year away is unhelpful," said the former chief of the 2012 London Olympics.

"We are trying to give the athletes some clarity about the calendar and speculation from scientists and medical experts does not help."

Belfast Telegraph