January 21, 2021 at 11:55 JST
Clockwise from top, the new National Stadium, Meiji Jingu Stadium and Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in July 2019 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
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 on Wednesday.
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.
Organizers 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, organizers 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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