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Tokyo 2020 urged to provide refund policies for overseas fans

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games have been urged to issue clear refund policies should overseas ticket holders be banned from attending the event later this year.

The push comes amid reports that overseas fans will not be permitted at this summer’s rescheduled event to limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

During the virtual International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session, held yesterday (Thursday), Greek member Spyros Capralos said Tokyo 2020 must roll out a clear refund policy and support those who have already purchased tickets and accommodation for the Games.

Organisers met last week and confirmed that a decision on overseas fan attendance would be made by the end of March, with a further announcement to be made next month on how many domestic fans will be permitted at venues.

Tokyo is due to host the Olympics from July 23 to August 8, with the Paralympics to follow from August 24 to September 5.

Capralos said: “We must find ways to deal with people who have already booked and paid for airplane tickets, Games tickets and accommodation, who may now not be able to travel to Tokyo.

“Not to forget, many of these people are parents and relatives of the athletes, who have passion and commitment to witness the Olympic Games.

“If the decision at the end is not to allow visitors to Japan, Tokyo 2020 and the IOC should make sure we have clear and well designed policies on refunding ticket sales and accommodation costs in order to avoid claims and legal costs.”

Capralos sentiments were echoed by Swedish IOC member Gunilla Lindberg who said a decision on overseas fans should be left as late as possible by organisers.

The session, led by Tokyo 2020 president Hashimoto Seiko and chief executive Muto Toshiro, outlined its pledge to deliver “safety first” Olympics.

Hashimoto said: “I will work to implement a flawless system of preparations for the Games. These will be Games that everyone, both in Japan and around the world, can agree will be safe and secure. I will continue to strengthen our collaboration with stakeholders as we prepare for safe and secure Games – safety first.”

John Coates, the IOC Coordination Commission chair for Tokyo 2020, said the organisation had held a meeting earlier in the day with organisers in Japan.

He said: “We are looking at the refund of tickets, that is a given. But we are looking at the other implications of accommodation, we are looking at implications for National Olympic Committees who have sponsors who might have bought tickets. The same with International Federations.”

However, the decision on refunds likely rests with the Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATRs), who deal with sales outside Japan and are appointed by national Olympic committees.

Tokyo 2020 has reportedly sold about 4.45 million tickets in Japan, with 70 per cent of the original 7.8 million available tickets were said to be said aside for domestic sales.