Lord Coe says the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics has saved athletes from mental turmoil.
The Games have been postponed until next year in a decision supported by Coe.
“We didn’t want to have the athletes in a position where they were countering government advice, maybe even breaking the law,” the World Athletics president told TalkSport.
“And of course in the back of their minds was always that concern, it wasn’t just their own training programme, but that they ran the risk of infecting themselves, their families, their kids, grandparents or parents. We just wanted to take them out of that mental turmoil as quickly as we possibly could.
“We’re no different from everyone else out there but I think we just concluded that sport, on this occasion, had to take a back seat.”
UK Athletics has called on West Ham to waive their tenancy rights for the London Stadium if there is the chance to stage the Anniversary Games this summer.
The event is scheduled for July 4 and 5, when any extended Premier League season could still be ongoing – giving West Ham first refusal under the terms of their tenancy.
New UKA chief executive Joanna Coates told the Sunday Telegraph: “In these unprecedented times, why is it football that always comes out – with all the money that slushes around in football – as the one that doesn’t suffer? It just doesn’t seem right to me.
“We’ve got athletes that have trained for an Olympic Games that they can’t now go on to and we’re trying our best to make sure that they still have some form of competition.
“If it’s not safe for them then that’s fine. But it doesn’t seem wholly fair that football can have carte blanche – because of the money involved and broadcast deals – and push every sport out.”