Great British summer of sport3 min read
The Olympics and Paralympics
Dates The Olympics takes place in Tokyo on July 23-August 8 while the Paralympics run from August 24-Sep 5.
Chances of full venues With just three months to go there remains uncertainty over whether all events will be behind closed doors. Local concern continues to mount after the Government ruled the city will remain in a state of Covid emergency until the end of May. Japanese cities entered a new two-week “state of emergency” in May – which could be extended further – and, speaking at a press conference outlining new measures for the Games, Hidemasa Nakamura, the Tokyo 2020 delivery officer, said “frequent testing” will be key to getting local spectators inside.
How do I get a ticket? Overseas spectators have already been banned from the Games, with a decision on whether to allow the Japanese public to attend to be taken in June. Taro Kono, the minister in charge of vaccination, has suggested empty venues seemed likely, causing a £500m black hole in revenue as a result.
How do I watch at home? The BBC is a main Olympics rights-holder, but Discovery+ will also be showing extensive coverage of the Games.
What happens if ‘freedom day’ is scrapped?
By Ben Rumsby
There are mounting fears the June 21 ‘freedom day’ could be scrapped as the Indian variant of coronavirus continues to spread across the UK.
Ministers have also admitted “local lockdowns” may be reintroduced in hotspots for the variant.
But what might the implications of this be for sport?
Smaller crowds at the European Championship and other events
Unless the Government reverses Monday’s relaxation of restrictions, crowds of up to 10,000 will continue to be allowed at mass events. It had also agreed that 22,500 could attend England’s Euro 2020 group games, which take place before June 21. Any delay to ‘freedom day’ could, however, wreck plans to scale up crowd sizes to between 50 and 100 per cent between then and the final. The same could apply to England rugby and cricket matches, Wimbledon, The Open and the British Grand Prix, putting a dampener on plans for a glorious summer of sport.
Ticket-holders from local lockdown areas banned from attending
If the rules are the same as those imposed towards the end of last year, anyone living in an area placed in a local lockdown would be banned from leaving it. That would include ticket-holders for Euro 2020 and other events. Anyone affected would doubtless be entitled to a refund but that would be scant consolation for those forced to miss out on a trip to Wembley, Twickenham, Lord’s, Wimbledon or Silverstone. There would be pressure to exempt those who had been fully vaccinated or could provide a negative Covid-19 test.
A further delay to the return of parkrun
As revealed by Telegraph Sport, the entire future of parkrun is under threat after fewer than a fifth of venues granted permission for its long-awaited return on June 5. Scrapping ‘freedom day’ would do little to convince landowners and local authorities to change their minds. Participation in most grassroots sport should be unaffected provided the May 17 relaxation of restrictions is not reversed. However, extending social-distancing beyond June 21 could affect the size of gym classes.