Playbooks launched for Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (Tokyo 2020), International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have today (Wednesday) published the first in a series of masterplans designed to provide guidance for the safe staging of the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games, warning that repeated non-compliance could result in ejection from the events.

The Playbooks outline the personal responsibilities key stakeholders must take to play their role in ensuring safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, amid COVID-19. The series of Playbooks aim to provide a framework of basic principles that each key stakeholder group will follow before they travel to Japan, when entering Japan, during their time at the Games and when leaving the Games.

IOC president Thomas Bach last week reiterated a commitment to staging the Games as planned in Tokyo, although it remains to be seen how many fans will be able to attend. The rescheduled Olympics are due to take place from July 23 to August 8, with the Paralympics to follow from August 24 to September 5.

Japanese officials were last month forced to deny a report that the government was seeking to cancel the Games amid ongoing uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, and Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori yesterday maintained the Japanese capital would hold the Olympics, “regardless of how the coronavirus (situation) looks”.

The first of the series of Playbooks released today is, for logistical reasons, aimed at International Federations (IFs) and technical officials. Playbooks for the athletes, media and broadcasters will be published in the coming days.

Under the ‘At The Games’ section of the Playbook, which can be viewed in full via this link, attendees are told that they will be responsible for “proactively monitoring and reporting” their personal health every day via a health reporting app.

Temperature checks will be conducted every time a person enters a Games venue, while physical contact with athletes will require a two-metre distance, with one-metres for others. The Playbook notes that the restriction of keeping at least one metre’s distance from others will be waived for certain individuals at the Paralympic Games.

Unnecessary forms of physical contact such as “hugs, high-fives and handshakes” are to be avoided, while additional rules will apply for the first 14 days in Japan. Attendees have been told to wear a face mask at all times, except when eating and sleeping, or if they are outside and able to keep two metres apart from others. Fans are being asked not to sing or chant when supporting athletes.

The Playbook adds: “Non-respect of the rules contained in this Playbook may expose you to consequences that may have an impact on your participation to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, your access to Games venues and, in some cases, on your participation to competitions. Repeated or serious failures to comply with these rules may result in the withdrawal of your accreditation and right to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The Playbooks have been developed jointly by Tokyo 2020, the IOC and IPC and will be updated in the months leading up to the Games. They are based on the work of the All Partners Task Force, which also includes the World Health Organization, Government of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, independent experts and organisations from across the world.

In addition, they also draw upon the lessons learned from the successful measures being implemented in other sectors, including the successful resumption of thousands of international sports events across the world.

Speaking about the publication of the Playbooks, IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said: “We know these Olympic Games will be different in a number of ways. For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require flexibility and understanding.

“We are providing the main directions at this stage, but naturally don’t have all the final details yet; an update will be published in the spring and may change as necessary even closer to the Games. We will make sure all the information needed is shared as quickly as possible to ensure we are fully prepared to protect all those coming to and residing in Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Games.”

Hidemasa Nakamura, Tokyo 2020 Games delivery officer, added: “Through careful communication we would like to ensure that everyone involved in the Games around the world is aware of our plans. We hope thereby to assure them that if each and every one of them follows the rules when participating in the Games, they can be held in a safe and secure manner.

“We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we would like to express our gratitude to the medical professionals, essential workers and everyone else who is working hard to ensure this. In the meantime we will continue our preparations for ensuring a safe and secure Games in the spirit of ‘Safety will be the No. 1 priority of the Olympic and Paralympic Games’.”

Image: Tokyo 2020