The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not hold the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games without fans, per a report in The Guardian.
The options are either cancel or postpone if the games can’t start on time.
Japanese residents are increasingly against holding the games as planned due to the pandemic, and athletes have begun calling for it being postponed.
Report: IOC won’t hold fan-less Olympics
The IOC would not be open to holding the games without fans, per The Guardian.
One source said: “It would go against everything we stand for. The Olympics is more than just a series of competitions, it is about bringing everyone together to celebrate sport.”
Another put it more bluntly: “An event with closed doors and no spectators is not an option.”
The games are set to begin July 24 in Tokyo. After President Donald Trump suggested they be postponed for a year, Japan’s Olympic minister immediately shot down any consideration of the sort.
Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the IOC, suggested organizers had until May to make a decision. The coronavirus pandemic has already forced the cancelation of qualifying tournaments and events beginning earlier this year.
Japan residents express doubts over hosting Olympics
Surveys of Japanese citizens show they are increasingly against holding the games as planned. A Wall Street Journal poll showed 70 percent of respondents said the Games should not go on due to the coronavirus. Two surveys published last week show 60 percent were in favor of delaying the games and only 20 percent thought they should go on as scheduled.
"To be honest, even if Japan overcomes this crisis, we wouldn't receive visitors from the world. I think we'd better not hold it,” Japan resident Koki Miura told AFP.
"We cannot sacrifice people's lives for it," added Miura, who said the Games should be postponed — if not cancelled outright.
The total coronavirus cases in Japan is around 800 and 31 deaths as of Monday.
British runner urges Olympic postponement
Guy Learmonth, the Great Britain captain at the European Indoor Championships and an Olympic 800-meter hopeful, called for the games to be postponed. He is one of the first prominent athletes to do so.
“We have no idea how bad this is going to get, and what we have seen so far might be the tip of the iceberg,” Learmonth said. “Of course the IOC and the whole world wants a successful Olympics. But for that to happen I strongly believe the event needs to be postponed — unless the authorities can guarantee it will be business as usual, which I don’t believe they can.
“Purely from an athlete’s point of view here, we need some clarity, transparency and flexibility. Because the press conference that I saw from the Japanese prime minister didn’t exactly fill me full of confidence that these Games are going to go ahead whatsoever.”
Fellow athletes have voiced displeasure at the lack of clarity around the games as qualifiers continue to be canceled or postponed. World Athletics has committed to assessing and adjusting qualification thresholds if countries begin to be disadvantaged, per The Guardian.
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