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Singing and chanting discouraged as IOC bids to combat Covid at Tokyo Olympics

By Mark Staniforth, PA Olympics Correspondent
Singing and chanting will be discouraged as part of the International Olympic Committee’s bid to combat coronavirus and stage a successful Games in Tokyo this summer.

It is one of a series of measures outlined in the first ‘Playbook’, published jointly by the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, which guides stakeholders about their responsibilities during their stay in Japan.

The publication asks that visitors “Support athletes by clapping and not singing or chanting” – while the IOC also confirmed that athletes will be subject to testing at a minimum of once every four days.

The initial ‘Playbook’ is broadly aimed at international federations and technical officials, with more specific editions, aimed at athletes, media and broadcasters, set for release in the coming days.

All visitors will be required to present proof of a recent negative test upon arrival in the country, but vaccination will not be a condition of entry.

The IOC’s executive director Christophe Dubi said: “The health and safety of everyone at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are our top priority.

“We each have our part to play. That’s why these Playbooks have been created – with the rules that will make each and every one of us a sound, safe and active contributor to the Games.

“We know these Olympic Games will be different in a number of ways. For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require flexibility and understanding.

“By committing to following the Playbooks we will be stronger together. In return, the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be remembered as a historic moment for humanity, the Olympic Movement and all those contributing to their success.”

The Playbooks will be updated in accordance with changing conditions in Tokyo, which remains under a State of Emergency due to rising coronavirus rates.

Games chiefs will see their release as a further step towards confirming that the re-scheduled Games will go ahead as planned, despite increasing scepticism both in Japan and among prominent Olympic figures elsewhere.

The speculation prompted IOC president Thomas Bach to stage a press conference last week in which he stressed that the Tokyo Olympics was about the ‘how’, not the ‘whether’.

The IPC’s chief communications officer Craig Spence said: “To ensure safe and successful Games this summer, every single stakeholder involved in, or attending the Games has a key role to play.

“Central to this are the Playbooks that form an integral part of a new and robust masterplan developed over the last 12 months to protect every Games stakeholder and, importantly, the people of Japan during Tokyo 2020.

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