Tokyo (AFP)

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee on Friday announced reimbursement terms for ticket holders who will not be able to attend the Games postponed to summer 2021 due to the pandemic.

The organizers also promised later reimbursements if health measures were to force them to limit the number of spectators at the event.

The coronavirus forced the organizers in March to postpone the Games by one year, and these date changes have created a vast headache, particularly affecting the ticketing.

“For ticket holders residing in Japan, Tokyo-2020 will accept refund requests for Olympic tickets between November 10 and 30 and between December 1 and 21 for Paralympic tickets,” according to a statement.

"For people residing outside of Japan who have purchased tickets through authorized ticket resellers," each reseller will have their "own procedure" for refunds, the committee added.

In July, Tokyo-2020 organizers confirmed that all tickets already purchased would be valid for corresponding events next year.

The Olympic Games are now scheduled from July 23 to August 8, 2021 and the Paralympic Games from August 24 to September 5.

But doubts continue to weigh on the very holding of the Games or on the presence of spectators, total, partial or even none.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach warned in an interview this week with South Korean television station SBS that having full stadiums "may not be possible."

"If we are not able to offer the possibility of attending the Games due to Covid-19, we will offer an additional possibility of requesting a refund," said the organizing committee.

Almost 4.5 million tickets have already been sold for the Olympics and nearly a million for the Paralympics, according to the organizers.

However, they did not detail the number of tickets sold in Japan compared to overseas, simply recalling that foreign spectators represented around 10% to 20% of the public at previous Games.

Organizers are not looking into the scenario of a cancellation of the Games or a situation with zero spectators, a spokesperson for the committee told reporters.

But last-minute refunds are being considered, for example if an event is canceled during the Games because an athlete contracts the virus, he explained.

© 2020 AFP