Tokyo 2020 organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto Photo: POOL/AFP

Olympics could have limited spectators, says Tokyo 2020 chief


Next year's coronavirus-postponed Olympics could be held in front of a "limited number of spectators" to prevent the spread of infection, Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said.

The Tokyo 2020 Games are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021, after a historic postponement forced by the global march of the pandemic.

Muto told BBC Sports that organizers were committed to holding the event in 2021, with no discussion of cancelling or postponing it further.

"Everyone should focus on holding the event next year -- we're on the same page."

He said International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was "not looking for" a Games held without any fans, but acknowledged smaller audiences might be possible.

"He may be thinking about a limited number of spectators with full consideration of social distancing," Muto said.

"We must build an environment where people feel safe. Athletes and the IOC family may require testing before/after entering Japan and (we need) strong medical systems around accommodation and transportation plans," he added.

Japan currently bans visitors from more than 100 countries in a bid to limit the spread of the virus and Muto said it was "too optimistic to assume all restrictions will be gone, so we must think of other ways."

With just under a year to go until the postponed Games, Japanese citizens have expressed skepticism about whether the Olympics can or should be held.

Two polls in July found the majority of Japanese think the Games should be postponed again or cancelled altogether.

And several medical experts have suggested the Games will not be viable without a proven treatment or vaccine for the virus.

Muto said a vaccine would be "a benefit... (but) not a precondition."

Chairman of the Tokyo Co-ordination Committee John Coates sounded a positive note by saying the Games would go ahead with or without a vaccine.

Organizers were "going ahead on the basis there won't be a vaccine," Coates told the Australia newspaper

He added that they were prepared "under whatever scenario we have to face, which will become clearer at the end of the year."

Japan has so far seen experienced a comparatively small coronavirus outbreak, but infections have been on the rise, particularly in the capital.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Let’s face the facts for a min.

1) Who really wants to see these Games with limited number of people?

2) How are the athletes suppose to be in top condition with limited practice before the games?

3) Will the Volunteers really feel safe working in these conditions?

4) Even if a vaccine is ready by next year, the virus does not die out. Just like the Noro Virus, this will still be with us for many years to come.

Recommend to give the money back to sponsors and give Tokyo the 2024 slot, push Paris to 2028, and LA 2032.

Plus Osaka will have the World Expo 2025 so Japan will have plenty of time to get ready and have the infrastructure in place by that time.

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Well William, you'd almost think that you'd actually need a worldwide pandemic for people to come up with answers to these questions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Scrap the Olympics and start afresh. More grass root level, more local business participation, less corporate interference, no more volunteers, pay rhe workers for chrissake

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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