IOC chief reluctant to hold Tokyo Olympics behind closed doors

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Friday reiterated their desire to hold Tokyo Olympics with spectators in the stands and not behind closed doors.

The multi-national event was initially set to be hosted in July this year but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will now take place from July 23 till August 8 in 2021.

Professional sports around the world are getting back on their feet as matches are being held behind closed doors. However, Bach ruled out the idea of doing same with Olympics next year.

“(Our planning) includes all different countermeasures, but no, an Olympic Games behind closed doors is clearly something we do not want,” Bach told reporters via videoconference.

“So we are working for a solution which on the one hand is safeguarding the health of all the participants and on the other hand is also reflecting the Olympic spirit.”

Bach had earlier conceded that Tokyo Games will have to be entirely scrapped if it cannot be held next year. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had initially raised such concerns and Bach accepted the same.

“You cannot forever employ 3,000 to 5,000 people in an organising committee,” Bach had told BBC Sport. “You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty.”

“There is no blueprint for it so we have to reinvent the wheel day by day. It’s very challenging and at the same time fascinating.”