Tokyo Olympics chief Mori rules out hosting Games without fans

Sajith B Warrier
·3-min read

Bengaluru, July 22: Tokyo Olympics organising committee president Yoshiro Mori has ruled out hosting the Games behind closed doors and feels an effective coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine holds the key to host the rescheduled event in a year's time.

Tokyo 2020 Games was supposed to start this month, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the International Olympic Committe (IOC) and Japanese government to take the unprecedented decision to postpone the Games by a year.

July 24 marks the one-year countdown to the Games and when asked about the factors will be crucial for the rescheduled Olympics to go ahead, Mori said "it would be whether the coronavirus woe is settling down."

Tokyo Olympics: Organisers face tough task as one-year countdown nears

"Specifically, the first point will be that a vaccine or drug has been developed," Mori was quoted as saying in an interview with national broadcaster NHK.

There are already rumours that the Games will be postponed again if a proper vaccine is not found to contain the virus.

Majority of the people who voted in various polls conducted by Japanese news outlets were also in favour of either postponing the Olympics again or cancelling it altogether.

Tokyo Olympics may be delayed again

Asked whether Tokyo could hold the Games if the virus situation remained unchanged, Mori was candid in his reply, "If things continue as they're now, we couldn't."

But he said that scenario was hypothetical. "I can't imagine a situation like this will continue for another year," he said

Tokyo 2020 should have been opening on Friday (Jly 24) but the Games were postponed in March as the coronavirus spread across the globe, marking the worst disruption to an Olympics since two editions were cancelled during World War II.

Tokyo Olympics postponed by a year

Most of those backing a delay or cancellation said they simply did not believe the pandemic could be contained in time for the Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach had made it clear that postponing the Games further is not a feasible option.

It's 2021 or never, says IOC chief Bach

Among the options that have been floated for a Games held during a pandemic is the possibility of limited spectators, or holding the event behind closed doors.

But Mori said reducing the number of spectators would be tough.

And he said holding the event without any fans was not an option for now.

"If it's the only way to do it, then it's something we would've to consider. If that happens, there might be talk of cancellation," Mori added.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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