Tokyo 2020 to go ahead without overseas fans – report

Overseas fans will not be permitted at this summer’s rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo, according to Kyodo.

The Japanese news agency, citing officials with knowledge of the matter, reported that the national government has made the choice to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. Tokyo is due to host the Olympics from July 23 to August 8, with the Paralympics to follow from August 24 to September 5.

Kyodo reported that the Tokyo 2020 organising committee will meet with the government, the International Olympic Committee and two other bodies “possibly next week”, when the decision is expected to be ratified. The decision is said to have been taken amid concerns among Japanese residents about the ongoing risks posed by COVID-19.

Organisers met last week and confirmed that a decision on overseas fan attendance would be made by the end of March, with a further announcement to be made next month on how many domestic fans will be permitted at venues.

Kyodo notes that around a million overseas fans were set to attend the Games. Refunds would need to be given to overseas fans that had planned on attending the Games.

The opening ceremony of the Olympic torch relay from March 25-27 is also set to go ahead without fans. The flame will be carried by around 10,000 runners before the Games get underway on July 23.

Tokyo 2020, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) last month published the first in a series of master plans designed to provide guidance for the safe staging of the Games. The Playbooks will 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.

IOC president Thomas Bach has repeatedly insisted that the Games will go ahead as planned this summer, although question marks remain over how many fans will be permitted at venues.