No back-up plan for Games, fans not a 'must-have'

Thomas Bach. Photo: Getty Images
Thomas Bach. Photo: Getty Images
There is "no Plan B" for the Tokyo Games, says International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

He reaffirmed his commitment to holding the showpiece event this year in an interview with Kyodo News on Thursday.

After the Games were postponed last year because of the global novel coronavirus pandemic, Saturday marks six months until the rearranged Olympics are due to start on July 23.

Despite dwindling public support and a surge in coronavirus cases across the world, organisers are adamant the Games will go ahead.

"We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo," Bach told Kyodo News.

"This is why there is no Plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these Games safe and successful," he added.

With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on the horizon and rapidly escalating costs further reducing public support, Tokyo organisers have repeatedly ruled out postponing the Games again.

Crowds not a 'must-have'

Spectators at the beleaguered Tokyo Games are not a "must have", senior International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said in an interview with Kyodo News.

After postponing the Games last year because of the global coronavirus pandemic, Saturday marks six months until the rearranged Olympics are due to start on July 23.

Organisers have said they will make a decision on whether spectators are allowed into venues in late February or March.

"The question is, is this a 'must have' or 'nice to have.' It's nice to have spectators. But it's not a must have," Pound told Kyodo.

Despite a surge in coronavirus cases leading to much of Japan currently being under a state of emergency, organisers have remained adamant the Olympics can go ahead.

Pound, the outspoken longest-serving member of the IOC, reaffirmed his hope that holding the Games in some capacity will be possible.

"Nobody can guarantee [that the Olympics will go ahead as planned]. But I think there is a very, very, good chance that they can, and that they will," he said.

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