• AFP-JIJI

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The FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships, scheduled for February 2021 at Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy, are likely to be postponed until March 2022 as a consequence of the coronavirus, officials said Sunday.

"Tomorrow, the president of the Italian winter sports federation, Flavio Roda, will present to the leaders of the international federation his desire to postpone the worlds from February 2021 to March 2022," Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago told Rai2 TV.

The decision means the worlds will take place after the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Olympics are scheduled to take place from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20 in 2022.

"It's a decision I fully share and the Minister of Sports (Vincenzo) Spadafora has been informed," added Malago.

"It is a very painful but common sense decision. If there is a problem in October or November, we will not be able to organize the worlds in 2021," he said in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.

With more than 32,000 deaths, Italy has been among the nations hit hardest by COVID-19.

"The question is not how to organize the competition, but how to keep everyone safe, the athletes, the staff, the journalists, the supporters," said Malago.

"In 2022, there will be the Winter Olympics in Beijing. We should therefore have the games first, then the worlds."

Cortina d'Ampezzo is a ski resort in the Dolomites which hosts World Cup events every year.

With Milan, it will also the host of the 2026 Winter Olympics.