The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are tightening the screws.
Athletes could face financial penalties or be kicked out of the Olympics if they violate anti-Covid measures.
In particular the daily tests and the wearing of the mask, warned the organizers on Tuesday, unveiling updated rules 37 days before the opening ceremony.
The latest version of the 'playbook' for athletes is 70 pages long, with comics explaining the rules that organizers believe will ensure the health security of the Olympic Games (23 July-8 August).
Officials hope the restrictions will boost the confidence of the skeptical Japanese public in the possibility of hosting the Games, even if the pandemic is yet to be brought under control. Olympic officials and Tokyo-2020 organizers have focused on sanctions, particularly for athletes in the event of violation of the rules, such as warnings, fines, or even "temporary or permanent ineligibility or exclusion from the Games" .
They did not say whether the athletes could be excluded from future Olympics as well as Tokyo. “We expect you to play by the rules, but if you don't, you could be punished,” said Pierre Ducrey, Director of Games Operations at the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Just over five weeks before the Games open, Tokyo is still under a state of health emergency and no decision has yet been made on whether to allow local spectators after the ban unprecedented spectators coming from abroad announced in March.
Organizers are trying to turn this around, emphasizing the safety measures they are taking and that the majority of athletes and people in the Olympic Village will be vaccinated and kept away from the Japanese public.
"The rules of the game are there to be respected, no transgression"
“The rules of the game are there to be respected, no transgression,” said Christophe Dubi, IOC Games Director at a joint press conference.
Organizers did not specify which penalties would apply for which violations, and also said they could not detail the amount of potential fines.
A disciplinary commission will be responsible for evaluating potential violations and sanctions.
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Olympic officials have started arriving in Tokyo, including IOC Vice President John Coates, who landed early on Tuesday.
Before his arrival, dozens of people demonstrated against the Games in the Japanese capital.
National polls have consistently indicated that most Japanese oppose hosting the Games this summer, preferring a further postponement or even cancellation.
But with the arrival in early June of the first Olympic team - the Australian softball players - there are signs that opposition to the Olympics is waning.
A poll taken in early June found that half of Japan's population was in favor of hosting the Games, and another published Monday night showed that 64% of those polled were now in favor of hosting the Games, split almost evenly between an organization. behind closed doors and a limitation on the number of spectators.
The poll did not give the option of a postponement, which the organizers totally excluded.
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About 84% of the athletes have already been vaccinated, Mr Coates told the Australian Financial Review newspaper before he left for Tokyo. "We will never be able to reach 100%", he admitted while specifying that the sportsmen of certain countries of Asia and Africa go to Qatar to be vaccinated, while those of South America are fly to Miami and Houston for injections organized by the IOC.
In Japan, everything has been done in recent weeks to lower the number of Covid-19 cases. The state of emergency measures relate mainly to the ban on alcohol in bars and restaurants which must also close at 8:00 p.m. The Kyodo news agency reported on Monday evening that the government may maintain certain restrictions in Tokyo during the Games, which could limit the number of spectators who can attend.