Singing and chanting will be banned at this year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as part of a series of drastic rule changes to try and ensure the Games can go ahead safely during the global pandemic.
Instead of yelling, anyone who attends the Games — including athletes — will be under strict orders to limit any shows of support to clapping their hands to reduce the spread of airborne infections.
Serious breaches of any of the unprecented rules could result in offenders being stopped from participating in the Games as part of the stringent measures Olympic and Japanese officials are taking so the world’s biggest sports event can proceed.
It is a logistical minefield for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which had already provided some details about its plans, including banning athletes from leaving the Village and sending them home within 48 hours of their events finishing.
Now, the IOC has released its first official ‘playbook’ outlining the framework of rules that will be in place.
- – All foreign visitors will need to pass a COVID-19 test with 72 hours of departing for Japan.
- – Foreigners will be retested on arrival then every four days while in Japan and again before leaving the country.
- – All visitors will have to wear masks, except when eating and sleeping, and stay two metres away from other people.
- – Anyone who is allowed out of the Village, including officials, judges and media, will have to register all their movements.
In keeping with the IOC’s previous statements, it will not be mandatory for visitors to be vaccinated to be allowed into Japan but National Olympic Committees (NOCs), including Australia, have been advised to get the injections if available.
“The IOC will work with the NOCs to encourage and assist their athletes, officials and stakeholders to get vaccinated in their home countries, in line with national immunisation guidelines, before they go to Japan,” the playbook said.
“This is to contribute to the safe environment of the Games, but also out of respect for the Japanese people, who should be confident that everything is being done to protect not only the participants, but also the Japanese people themselves.”
Christophe Dubi, the Olympic Games executive director, said a final decision on whether crowds will be allowed inside stadiums has yet to be made, although it is expected foreign fans will be banned and the numbers of local spectators will be reduced.
“We know these Olympic Games will be different in a number of ways,” Dubi said.
“For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require flexibility and understanding.
“We are providing the main directions at this stage, but naturally don’t have all the final details yet; an update will be published in the Spring and may change as necessary even closer to the Games.”