Friday, December 3

COVID-19: IOC President, Thomas Bach, Is Hopeful Overseas Fans Will Be Able To Attend The Olympic Games Next Year

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Frankie Omokhua

International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, has disclosed that Olympic Games organisers are still working to ensure that overseas spectators will be able to attend the event in Tokyo next summer after the Games were postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic and now scheduled to get under way on July 23, 2021.

Bach made this known during IOC’s executive board meeting on Wednesday.

“We are working on the basis there will be international spectators. Again, what we do not know is whether we can fill venues to full capacity or whether other measures would have to be applied”.

“We saw a very encouraging start of some of the sports leagues in Japan with a good number of spectators and then we will have to see again with the additional tools we will have at our disposal next year how we can fill the stadia and how much we can fill the stadia”.

Olympic Games executive director, Christophe Dubi, said there was no deadline for a decision on whether overseas spectators could attend but said there would be more clarity by December.

In the meantime, more than 50 ‘simplification’ measures have been taken to reduce the costs associated with the Games, with Tokyo 2020 organising committee chief executive, Toshiro Muto, disclosing they had so far worked out 30 billion Yen (approximately £220million).

Also, the format of the opening ceremony will not be touched though, Bach said.

“It is the showcase for the host country to show its perception of Olympic values and it is the opportunity for the athletes to march in the opening ceremony, belonging to their Olympic team”, the German added.

“They are normally followed by more than one billion people around the world and that led to the joint decision with the organising committee that we should maintain the format of the ceremony, while the content may be adjusted one way or the other. This is first of all in the hands of the artistic director”.

Meanwhile, the executive board has rubber-stamped the timelines for the next IOC presidential election.

The new president will be chosen at the 137th IOC Session in spring next year, with the candidature deadline set for November 30, 2020.

The new presidential term will start the day after the closing ceremony of Tokyo 2020, the IOC confirmed.

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