IOC Executive Says 2022 Winter Games Might Not Have Spectators
(Bloomberg) -- The 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing could proceed without spectators, International Olympic Committee Executive Director Christophe Dubi said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
“Let’s see how the pandemic evolves around the globe and especially in China, and then let’s look at the consequence of participation for spectators,” he said on Thursday. “We have heard a number of the athletes say, ‘What matters is that we can compete, and we’ve gotten used to participating even without spectators.’ But if you have the choice, you would prefer to have spectators.”
Beijing 2022 organizers haven’t said anything about whether foreign or domestic spectators will be allowed to attend, and tickets aren’t on sale yet.
After a one-year delay, organizers of the 2020 summer Olympics barred most spectators from events as a way to limit the spread of Covid-19 in Japan.
The winter Games are scheduled to begin in February. Beijing 2022 organizers haven’t said anything about whether foreign or domestic spectators will be allowed to attend. As of now, China’s borders are closed to international tourists in most circumstances, and the country is currently fighting to contain an outbreak that now counts hundreds of cases across 15 provinces.
The situation in China, both with respect to Covid and to the Olympics, is moving quickly. Two weeks ago, the head of the IOC’s coordination commission told Reuters that the 2022 Winter Games needs spectators to be successful, saying, “We would like to have the international community there.”
In the interview with BTV, Dubi also addressed the question of athletes’ political protests at the Tokyo Games, the result of a newly relaxed IOC rule. The same guidelines and freedoms will apply in Beijing, he said.
“We have an Olympic Charter and a host city contract that establish the conditions for participation, and everything that is in the charter will be respected, I guarantee that,” he said. “In China, the conditions established by the IOC will be respected, no doubt.”
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