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International fans barred from Tokyo 2021 Olympics due to pandemic
20 March 2021, 12:45 | Updated: 20 March 2021, 12:50
The delayed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be held without international fans due to Covid safety concerns, organisers have confirmed.
The Olympic Games are set to run from July 23 to August 8, having initially been postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Paralympic Games are scheduled to take place from August 24 to September 5.
The decision to bar International spectators was taken by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organising Committee.
The organising committee's decision followed talks it held with local organisers, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Tokyo metropolitan government and the International Paralympic Committee.
An official Tokyo 2020 statement said: "Based on the present situation of the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas.
"In order to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the parties on the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"This conclusion will further contribute to ensure safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public."
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organising Committee CEO Toshiro Muto has confirmed that Olympic and Paralympic ticket holders from overseas will be eligible to apply for refunds.
However, Mr Muto also made clear that costs for cancelled hotel bookings by international fans would not be covered.
International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons has said: "It goes without saying that in an ideal world we would prefer to have international spectators at the Games, allowing families, friends and fans to cheer on their loved ones and all athletes.
"But at the moment we must acknowledge that due to the global pandemic we are not living in an ideal world.
"As a result, some difficult decisions, which we fully appreciate will leave many disappointed, need to be made to further contribute to ensure safe and secure Games."