Olympic organisers open to having small crowd

TOKYO • Next year’s Olympics could be held in front of a “limited number of spectators” to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection, Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said.

The postponed Tokyo Games are scheduled to open on July 23 next year and Muto told BBC Sports that organisers were committed to holding the event then, and there had been 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, adding that International Olympic Committee (IOC) 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.

“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.”

Japan currently bans visitors from more than 100 countries in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus 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 scepticism about whether the Olympics can or should be held.

Two polls this month found the majority of Japanese think the Games should be postponed again or cancelled.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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