(Tokyo) One of the most important questions for the Tokyo Olympics is: what are we going to do with the fans?
Will supporters from overseas be able to travel to Japan? Will fans be allowed in closed stadiums or smaller indoor competition venues?
“Obviously, we are looking at different scenarios, so holding the Games behind closed doors remains an option,” said Tokyo Games Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori following a videoconference with IOC President Thomas Bach . We do not want to organize a Games without spectators, but in terms of simulations, we are analyzing all the options. ”
The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese organizers will unveil their detailed game plan next week. It will establish strict rules for the thousands of athletes arriving in Japan, including isolation in bubbles and the duty to leave the country as soon as their competitions are over.
Daily Nikkan Sports, without citing a source, says organizers expect to announce soon that supporters from other countries will not be admitted to Japan. Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said earlier this week that the decision would be announced “by spring”.
The 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be confined in a sterile bubble in Tokyo. But the thousands of other officials, VIPs, sponsors, reporters and broadcast crew members will not.
The spectators represent the highest risk for these Olympics, which are announced televisual. Broadcasters’ money is crucial for the IOC, which derives 75% of its income from broadcasting rights.
The organizing committee expected to earn US $ 800 million from ticket sales, its third largest source of revenue. Any loss should be borne by one of the country’s government entities.
Mori said of his conversation with Bach, during which he was accompanied by Tokyo Jo’s CEO Toshiro Muto, that it seemed like a cheering session (” pep talk “). Both the IOC and the Japanese committee are trying to move forward by unveiling their plans to try to silence all rumors of cancellation.
“President Bach has told us his position. It was a great encouragement, Mori said. We thanked him. This was our main topic of discussion [jeudi]. ”
Mori was unable to respond clearly to a question from a Japanese journalist who asked him what he meant, specifying that Tokyo “was going to organize a safe Games”.
Opinion polls in Japan show that the public is largely against the holding of the Olympics: 80% of respondents believe that they should be postponed or canceled.
“Everyone hopes to be safe and sound,” Mori replied. No one gets on a train hoping for an accident. ”
Mori and Muto added that Bach inquired about the vaccine distribution in Japan. These should be administered to healthcare workers in February and to the general population much later.
The IOC has specified that participants in the Games do not have to have been vaccinated, but that they will be encouraged to do so. Bach also said that priority should not be given to young athletes, but to healthcare workers and seniors.
“It is desirable that more than one person be vaccinated,” added Muto. But we have had discussions about a scenario where the Games are held without vaccination. ”
Montrealer Richard Pound, a former IOC vice-president, was sharply criticized when he said earlier this month that athletes should be vaccinated as a priority.