Sapporo's 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games hopes appear to have been derailed by the Tokyo 2020 scandals ©Getty Images

Sapporo appears close to delaying its bid for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, after the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) discussed plans to approve the city as a candidate for 2034 or later.

The 1972 Winter Olympics host had been considered the frontrunner for the 2030 Games, but its bid has been derailed by the Tokyo 2020 bribery and bid-rigging scandals and subsequent public apathy.

JOC Board member Keiko Momii played down Sapporo's prospects for 2030 after today's meeting.

"A public survey shows 60 percent of people opposing it," Momii said, as reported by Japanese news agency Kyodo.

"We should take more time and try to gain understanding from the public.

"Therefore, we opened things up for various possibilities."

Kyodo reported the JOC plans to approve Sapporo as a Japanese candidate for the 2034 Winter Olympics and Paralympics or another future edition should the city wish to rekindle its plans, although such a proposal is not yet on the table and other cities would be considered too.

Sapporo's bid was "paused" in December last year as the Tokyo 2020 scandals deepened, but the re-election of Katsuhiro Akimoto as Mayor in April appeared to boost its prospects.

Sweden appears the new frontrunner for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics with Sapporo on course to delay its bid ©Getty Images
Sweden appears the new frontrunner for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics with Sapporo on course to delay its bid ©Getty Images

However, JOC President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Yasuhiro Yamashita later revealed talks were underway over delaying Sapporo's bid until 2034.

Sweden appears the new favourite to stage the 2030 Games, potentially with a bid including Latvia, although French IOC member last month suggested his country could submit a combined effort from Rhône-Alpes and the Southern Alps.

Salt Lake City in the United States has declared it would prefer to stage the 2034 Winter Games over 2030 to avoid a clash with Los Angeles 2028 sponsorships, while a bid from Vancouver in Canada was shelved due to a lack of Government support.

The IOC had wanted to confirm a host for 2030 at this year's delayed Session in Mumbai, but those plans were pushed back with several of the interested parties facing issues with their bids.

Salt Lake City had looked best placed for the 2034 edition, although could face competition if Sapporo opts to bid.

Concerns remain over the future of winter sports given the increasing impact of climate change, and a system of permanent rotating hosts for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics is being considered by the IOC.