A senior Olympic official has flagged postponing the Tokyo Games for at least a year in a move which Australian hierarchy believe could compromise the nation's athletes.
As the coronavirus continues to cause havoc on sports worldwide, it has emerged the Tokyo Olympics' organising committee has yet to discuss the outbreak.
The Games in the Japanese capital are due to start on July 24 this year but could be delayed by a year or two, a member of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee executive says.
Haruyuki Takahashi says if the global coronavirus outbreak prevents the sporting showpiece from being held a postponement is likely.
Takahashi says the financial damage from cancelling the Olympics, or holding them without spectators, would be too great for the Games not to be held at some stage
"I don't think the Games could be cancelled," Takahashi told the Wall Street Journal.
"It would be a delay.
"The International Olympic Committee would be in trouble if there's a cancellation."
Takahashi said the organising committee's executive board had yet to discuss the impact of the virus on the Games - their most recent meeting was last December, before the epidemic spread.
A postponement could compromise the performances of Australia's Olympians, according to Edith Cowan University's Professor Greg Haff.
Haff, a professor of strength and conditioning, and the high performance sport scientist on the Australian Weightlifting Federation's high performance commission, said athletes had spent years preparing for the Games.
"The programs are finely crafted and designed to elevate performance capacity at this specific time," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
"If the Tokyo Olympics are moved, their ability to achieve peak performance can be compromised due to peaking performances at the wrong time.
"This may be avoided if the International Olympic Committee does not wait to the last moment and provides a specific date for the Games."
Japan, which has reported about 1300 coronavirus cases, has delayed the start of its professional baseball league - instead of a March 20 start, the league won't start until April at the earliest.
Australia's elite football competitions, the AFL and NRL, were forming contingency plans should health authorities and governments ban large gatherings of people in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The AFL has said it was prepared to stage games without spectators - a move already taken by various sports competitions globally.
The English Premier League has postponed a mid-week fixture between Manchester City and Arsenal - the first top-flight soccer match in England to be put off due to concerns over the virus.
Spain's elite La Liga soccer competition has announced matches will be played without spectators for at least the next two rounds, mirroring the situation in Italy's Serie A.
In the NRL, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said his club was on alert when travelling to Australia for its away season-opener in Newcastle on Saturday.
"We're taking extra precautions on heading over ... we have only got five (coronavirus) cases here in New Zealand so we want to keep it that way," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"It's important that none of us get it ... it's going to be a challenge to try and keep it at bay if someone has got the virus. It has to be taken seriously."