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IOC President Thomas Bach holding an executive board meeting at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne on Oct. 7, 2020.

CHRISTOPHE MORATAL/AFP/Getty Images

Tokyo Olympics organisers are expecting to welcome international spectators at next year’s Games despite the COVID-19 pandemic, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.

In March, the Japanese government and the IOC postponed the 2020 Games until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are working on the basis of course there will be international spectators (in Tokyo),” Bach told a conference call at the end of an executive board meeting.

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“What we do not know is if we can fill stadia to full capacity or if other measures would have to be applied.”

He said the resumption of some Japanese sports leagues had been a positive sign.

“We saw a very encouraging start in some of the leagues in Japan in the past couple of weeks with a good number of spectators,” Bach said.

“We have to see again with the additional tools at our disposal next year how we can fill the stadia and how much we can fill them.”

Visitors to the Olympics usually book their tickets many months or years in advance but in Tokyo’s case the IOC will only have a clearer picture by the end of 2020.

“We are here with a lot of uncertainties,” the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said.

"We have not established any timelines. It is premature to say at this stage we have to have such a decision or such a decision.

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“At the end of the year we will have a lot of clarity, what to do from an operational standpoint. By December we have a clearer picture how the situation unfolds,” Dubi said.

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