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Tokyo Olympics delays decision on fans until 2021

A decision on how many – if any – spectators will be able to attend next year’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games may not be taken until 2021, organisers have said.

The Games were postponed by 12 months in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there remains a great deal of uncertainty even around the rescheduled event – which is due to take place from July 23.

The chief executive of the organising committee, Toshiro Muto, said discussions were continuing regarding spectators, and what limits may need to be placed on capacity at the various Games venues.

“When it comes to the specific numbers and how much of the percentage of total capacity should be allowed, I can’t say whether that will be decided by December,” Mr Muto said at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

“We need to keep a close eye on the situation with the COVID-19 spread.

“We shouldn’t make a decision right before Games time, but definitely we should observe the situation thoroughly.”

Amid concerns about cost blowouts, capacity at professional sports events in Japan is currently limited to a maximum of 5000.

The Australian chairman of the Games co-ordination commission, John Coates, said in an interview last week that the event would go ahead “with or without COVID-19”.

Asked about those comments, Mr Muto said: “We are very confident we are on the same page and Mr Coates’ remarks are based on the precondition that the watertight measures against COVID19 are fully deployed.”

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