The IOC has shortened the Session in Beijing due to COVID-19 ©IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will hold an additional day of its 139th Session later this year after shortening the meeting in Beijing next month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IOC members had been due to gather in the Chinese capital for two days, on February 1 and 2.

The Session will now be held on February 3 and kept open for the traditional end-of-Games part of the gathering on February 19, the day before the Closing Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

It will not feature a full agenda, however, as the Session will conclude "at a date to be established later in the year to allow for all topics to be addressed".

"Considering the global pandemic and its impacts, some IOC members will take part in the IOC Session remotely and for others some travel arrangements had to be re-organised," the IOC said. 

"In order to address this situation and to streamline the institutional meetings in Beijing, it was decided to reduce the duration of these meetings."

The last IOC Session was held as a hybrid event in Tokyo in July ©IOC
The last IOC Session was held as a hybrid event in Tokyo in July ©IOC

The agenda for the Session has not yet been published by the IOC, but it will include the membership rubber-stamping the Executive Board's decision to include skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing on the initial sports programme for Los Angeles 2028.

The organisation's Executive Board meeting in Beijing will also now only be one day.

It will be held on February 2 instead of January 29 to 30, the IOC said.

The number of IOC members that will be in Beijing for the Games, due to open on February 4, is not yet known.

At the last Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018, there were concerns not enough members were present in the South Korean resort to reach a quorum to hold the Session.

The IOC eventually achieved the required number of 51 after asking some members who had already left to return.

Such an issue will not occur in Beijing as the Olympic Charter now allows for Sessions to be held in a hybrid format or entirely remotely following changes introduced in response to the pandemic.